Skip to main content

Full text of "Young India 1924-26 V0l-ii"

See other formats






YOUNG INDIA 
19244926 




YOUNG INDIA 

1924-1926 


By MAHATMA GANDHI 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION 

By RAJENDRA PRASAD 


S. GANESAN, 

Publisher, Triplicane, Madras. S. E, 

1927 



Printed by S, Ganesan, 
at the Current Thought Press, Triplloane, 


Madras 



CONTENTS 


Page 

For the readers past and present of Young India ... I 

Young India zxiA Navaj wan ... 3 

L NATION AlL unity 

Campaign of misrepresentation ... 9 

What is Hinduism? ... 12 

A full stop ... 14 

The starving Moplah ... VT 

Pandit Malaviyaji on Moplah relief ... 19 

Hindu Moslem tension : its cause and cure ... 21 

What may Hindus do ? ... 33 

The Ary a Samajists ... 41 

Ary a Samajists again ... 43 

The Bhopal apostacy circular ... 52 

Apostacy after embracing Islam ... 52 

Bolshevism or discipline ? ...61 

Gulbarga gone mad ... 63 

The question of questions ... 67 

Hindu* Muslim unity ... 73 

All about the fast ... 77 

Notice to readers ... 83 

Change of heart ... 84 

Mahatma Gandhi's fast ... 84 

Maulana Mahomed Ali's statement ... 86 

Maulana Shaukat Ali's statement ... 88 

Our duty ... 89 

A Christian's blessing ... 90 

Barodada's message ... 91 

Swami Shraddanand's statement ... 92 

My refuge ... 92 



CONTENTS 


The fast the God has chosen 

Page 

- 93 

How the fast was broken 

... 96 

A welcome message from the West 

... 100 

The inner meaning of the fast 

... lOI 

Hymns on Mahatmaji’s fast 

... 109 

An interesting conversation 

... II4 

The latest fast 

... 123 

The breaking of the fast 

... 126 

The lesson of the fast 

... 127 

The physical effects of fasting 

... 129 

After the fast 

... 134 

The Unity Conference 

... 138 

Where it was wanting 

... 140 

Beneath the ridge 

... 142 

The edict of toleration 

... 143 

The Metropolitan’s contribution 

... 146 

Pt. Gokarannath Misra 

... 146 

An impression of the conference 

... 147 

The conference at Delhi 

’... 150 

Mr. Asaf Ali 

... 151 

Pt. Dina Nath 

... 152 

Mr. Shaidva 

- TS 3 

Three welcome paragraphs 

• •• 153 

The conference and after 

155 

The Hindu Moslem conference 

... 158 

Dr. S. K. Datta 

• 159 

Sjt. Satischanadra Mukerjee 

... 161 

Barodada’s dream 

... 162 

The trumpet of a prophecy 

... 163 

The unity problem 

... 164 

An important letter 

... 166 

Towards unity 

... 168 

Resolutions passed at the Unity Conference 

... 169 

The Kohat visit 

... 174 

The Kohat tragedy 

... 177 



CONTENTS 

vii 

Page 

Kohat refugees 

... i8o 

Kohat Hindus 

... I8i 

Still at it 

... 183 

My Punjab diary 

... 185 

On another's land 

... 195 

Hindu Moslem question 

... 197 

The embargo 

... 202 

My crime 

... 205 

Conundrums 

... 207 

Interdining again 

... 211 

The science of surrender 

... 213 

That eternal question 

... 216 

The order of Hindu Moslem unity 

... 219 

II. NON-CO-OPERATION CONGRESS AND SWA RAJ 

School-masters and lawyers 

... 225 

Is it non-co-operation ? 

... 231 

Non-inconsistent 

... 231 

Parody of religion 

... 235 

Empire goods boycott 

... 236 

Boycott foreign cloth 

... 240 

The plight of teachers 

... 245 

Below the belt 

... 24S 

Wanted excitement 

... 250 

The students and Malabar 

... 255 

Suspension or repeal ? 

... 259 

King can do no wrong 

... 260 

Heart unity 

... 262 

Suspend or abandon 

... 263 

What is seditious ? 

... 265 

National education 

... 268 

The national week 

... 272 

No sign yet 

... 274 

Sentimental nonsense 

... 276 

To Gandhi ji 

... 278 



Vlll 


CONTENTS 


Page 

Is it inconsistancy ? 285 

Teacher's condition 28S 

Fate of non-co-operators ... 293 

National education ... 296 

A hotch-pot of questions ... 298 

Councils entry ... 305 

Malaviyaji and Lalaji ... 303 

To what state fallen ? ... 30S 

Not despondent ... 306 

Objections considered ... 307 

Its meaning ... 310 

The position of non-co-operators ... 314 

Message to the students ... 3^5 

Students and non-co-operation ... 318 

Congress organisation ... 321 

Digging my own grave ... 32S 

All India Congress Committee .. . 326 

An appropriate querry ... 328 

The acid test ... 330 

To the members of the All-India Congress Committee ... 334 

Defeated and humbled ... 339 

The All-India Congress Committee ... 347 

Quick response ... 352 

Councils entry ... 355 

My position ... 357 

Rules to be observed ... 358 

Bara Bazar congressmen ... 359 

An appeal to the nation ... 361 

Who shall be President.? ... 366 

The Lokamanya anniversary ... j 6 g 

What about the President ? ... 372 

Lowest common measure ... 373 

When will it end ? .*.374 

Fraud by congressmen ... 375 

The realities 376 



CONTENTS 

ix 

Page 

Dr. Annie Besant^s declaration 

... 383 

For unity- 

... 384 

spinning franchise 

... 387 

An important letter 

... 388 

How to work ? 

... 391 

The forthcoming meeting 

... 392 

Our helplessness 

... 392 

Is it compulsion ? 

... 393 

Public debts 

... 394 

The joint statement 

... 393 

An interview 

... 397 

The agreement 

... 398 

On trial 

... 403. 

Shall we unite ? 

... 407 

The no-changers plight 

... 411 

May god help ? 

... 413 

At Belgaum 

... 416- 

Breach of faith 

... 417 

An important omission 

... 418 

Not even half-mast 

... 419’ 

Congress Presidential Address 

... 424 

Ormuzd and Ahriman 

... 448- 

Two addresses 

... 450 

Typical 

, ... 451 

Belgaum impressions 

... 4S3. 

How to do it ? 

... 460 

Kathiawad conference address 

... 462 

The Working Committee 

... 479* 

A notice 

... 481 

Confession of Faith 

... 484 

Interrogatories answered 

... 487^ 

In case of misappropriation 

... 491 

A. 1. K. B’s resolutions 

... 49» 

Is a Swarajist a congressman ? 

... 493 

God and congress 

... 494 



X 


CONTENTS 


Page 

My position ^ 9 ^ 

‘Qu antity v. quality • • • 503 

Illuminating documents • • 505 

,Splitting hairs • • 

A remarkable address ••• 512 

A baseless charge • • • 515 

Corruption 5^6 

Are we ready? ••• 519 

H umbled pride . ■ • 522 

At Darjeeling •• 523 

‘Calcutta’s Mayor ... 53 ^ 

Reply to Lord Birkenhead .. 536 

A deceptive speech ... 537 

The spinning franchise ... 540 

^ Congress and political parties ... 542 

The Congress unemployed ... 546 

Congress corruption .. 549 

Do I hate Englishmen ? ... 549 

Why not surrender completely ? ... 552 

iSwaraj or death ... 555 

A string of questions ... S6l 

Is it over-confidence? ... 563 

The All India Congress Committee ... 564 

A. I. C. C. resolutions ... 568 

Interrogatories ... 57 1 

A true congressman ... 574 

»On the eve ... 577 

The annual demonstration ... 578 

My political programme ... 581 

III. CONSTRUCTIVE PROGRAMME 

The whisper of the wheel ... 587 

Living on spinning and weaving 589 

Khadi umbrellas .. 590 

The wheel to the rescue ... 591 



CONTENTS 

xi 

Page 

Luxury not power 

- 594 

Luxury and laziness 

595 

What is a spinner ? 

597 

Untouchability and Swaraj 

... 6oo 

Chhop or spinning competition 

... 602 

Liberals and khaddar 

... 603 

Machine spinning v. Hand spinning 

... 604 

Charkha at 86 

... 605 

False pride 

... 606 

Spinning resolution 

... 607 

One programme 

.. 610 

A plea for mills 

... 613 

Cloth or steel ? 

... 615 

To P. B. 

... 616 

Waste of energy 

... 617 

Difficulties in the way 

... 621 

Two sides 

... 623 

Wheelless spinning 

... 625 

A badge of subservience 

... 628 

Mill khadi 

.. 629 

For iallen humanity 

... 629 

Two scenes 

... 631 

Handspinning at Adyar 

... 633 

Eleven days in Madras 

.. 635 

Sir Prabhashankar to spin 

.. 642 

Cotton collection 

... 643 

The revolving wheel 

... 643 

Non-brahmins 

... 644 

An appeal 

... 645 

Untouchability and its implications 

... 648 

Pertinent questions 

... 653 

On another's land 

... 657 

Well done 

.. 660 

W aste of yarn 

... 660 

Towards unity 

.. 661 



xii 


CONTENTS 


Page 

A silent worker ... 662 

Swadeshi and nationalism ... 665 

The handloom ... 665 

Ryot’s cry . . . 668- 

National service and pay .. 6/1 

Khadi Prathisthan ... 673 

Not man’s work ... 676* 

Spinning in schools ... 678- 

Spinning in Darjeeling ... 679^ 

AlMndia Spinner’s Association ... 681 

Snares of Satan ... 681 

Hookworm and charkha ... 684 

Spinning at a government institute ... 686 

A village experiment ... 688- 

The constitution of the All India Spinner’s Association... 694 

All-India Spinner’s Association ... 699* 

Debts of honour 703 

Subsidiary industry par excellence . . . 704 

Boycott V. construction ... 705, 

A dilemma ... 708. 

The Poet and the charkha ... 709 

The naked truth ... 714 

Government servants and A, I. S. A. ... 716 

National education ... 717 

A student’s questions ... 719. 

A year’s work 722 

In the grip of untouchability ... 725 

The Congress Khadi exhibition ... 727 

Spinning in Municipal schools 730^ 

The spinning wheel in Mysore ... 733, 

Spinning at Sabarmati Ashram ... 734 

961 yards per hour 
For juveniles 
A repudiation 
Still shirking the issue 



CONTEN-TS xiii 

Page 

The Poet and the wheel ... 743 

Sacrificial spinning ... 7^5 

The national week ... 745 

Spinning in municipal schools ... 747 

He won’t spin ... 748 

Does India want prohibition ? ... 751 

Hinduism of to-day ... 753 

Pandit Nehru and khaddar ... 757 

The morals of machinery ... 760 

The national week at Satyagraha Ashram ... 762 

Drugs, drink and devil ... 765 

For and against Khadi ... 768 

Total prohibition . . 772 

Prohibition and Madras government ... 773 

A die-hard ... 775 

My Kamadhenu ... 777 

The cobwebs of ignorance ... 781 

Spinning an art ... 788 

National education ... 789 

Resourcefulness ... 791 

A clever cotton spinner ... 792 

Co-operation in spinning ... 793 

Some knotty points ... 795 

From the frying pan ... 798 

The hydra-headed monster ... 799 

The wheel of life ... 802 

Artificial silk ... 807 

Student’s khadi unions ... 807 

Khadi service ... 808 

Hand-weaving among Parsis ... 810 

Khadi service rules ... 8ll 

IV SATYAGRAHA AND NON-VIOLENCE 

Vykom Satyagraha ... 819 

Case of Chirala Perala ... 822 



xiv 


CONTENTS 


Page 

Vykom Satyagraha ... 822* 

Vykom Satyagraha ... 828 

Are Sikhs Hindus ? ... 829 

Vykom Satyagraha ... 831 

The Akhali struggle ... 832 

A repudiation ... 835 

Orthodox protest ... 837 

Quiet work ... 837 

It melts stones ... 838 

A disturbing item ... 839 

Negro’s sympathy ... 839 

Vykom Satyagraha ,.. 840 

Vykom Satyagraha ... 841 

Patriotism run mad ... 842 

Vykom Satyagraha ... 844 

From Vykom 847 

More about Vykom 848 

Vykom Satyagraha ... 85 1 

Entry into temples ... 853. 

Vykom ... 854 

True Sat>agraha . 856 

From Europe . 858 

When crime not immoral ? 865 

Vykom Satyagraha . . 866 

F rom far off America 867 

What it is not ? 37^ 

Mr. Pennington on the war patk ... 873 

What is violence ? . 374 

Hindu-Muslim tension in Sindh ... 875 

Letter from Lalaji ‘ 876 

Punishment or reward . . 877 

The wrong way _ 878 

Am tired of M ahatma ... 879 

Meaning of untruthful ’ ’ ' 880 

Value of silent work ... 880 



CONTENTS 


xr 
Page 

News to me ... 882 

Well done Delhi ... 882 

The law of love ... 883 

My path ... 886 

Implication of non-violence ... SSS’ 

A practical experiment in non-violence ... 894 

A revolutionary’s defence ... 897 

To another revolutionary ... 906 

To R. S. S. R. ... 907 

My friend the revolutionary ... 907 

To revolutionary in making ... 915 

Seeker after truth ... 917 

At it again .. 919- 

On the verge of it ... 925 

Violence in agriculture ... 930 

The meaning of the Gita ... 933 

Low moral tone ... 940 

Sacrifice ... 942 

What is natural ? ... 944 

More animal than human ... 947 

Conditions of pacific strike ... 952 

The greatest good of all ... 954 

Is this humanity? I ... 957 

Is this Humanity ? II ... 961 

III ... 964 

„ IV ... 969 

„ V ... 972: 

„ VI ... 98a 

„ VII ... 982 

MISCELLANEOUS 

Leaves from a diary ... 987 

Varnashram or Varnasankara? ... 1004 

More about Varnashram ... lOoB- 

Some objections answered ... 1017 



•XVI 


CONTENTS 


Under conscience’s cover 
What is an ideal city ? 

A morning with Gandhiji — I 
A morning with Gandhiji — II 
.Stoning to death 
Our unfortunate sisters 
Yarn ashram Again 
Cow protection 

All India Cow Protection Association 

Ayurvedic system 

A domestic chapter 

Ghitta Ranjan Das 

Fallen sisters 

Three questions 

A string of questions 

My incapacity 

Painfully illuminating 

A silent servant 

An All-India memorial 

An address to missionaries 

The Lion of Bengal 

Address to the Anglo-Indians 

Public Funds 

Miniature Swaraj 

For Christians 

Sanatana Hindu 

To American Friends 

What of the British lion ? 

Prayer 

Sikhism 

Our impotence 

Our insanitation 

A cry from Germany 

Our time a trust ! 

Borodada Gone 


Page 

1021 

1023 

1025 

1031 

1036 

1038 

1040 

1043 

1045 

1049 

1052 

1055 
1059 

1061 

1062 

1056 
1068 
1073 

I07S 

1077 

1084 

1085 
1994 

1098 

IIOI 

1103 

iios 

1113 

ms 

1117 

1119 

1112 

X123 

1125 

1128 



.CONTENTS 

xvii 

Page 

Another invitation 

... 1129 

A Patriot’s wail 

... 1132 

From Sweden 

... 1136 

Why not visit America 

... 1140 

Exercise the copyright 

... 1141 

How to help 

... 1143 

The cattle problem 

... 1145 

W ar or peace 

. 1151 

A true sacrifice 

... 1154 

What is prayer ? 

... 1158' 

Cattle wealth 

... 1160 

Mahatmaji’s order 

... 1162 

A great heart 

... 1164 

Triumph of civil disobedience 

... 1165 

Justice from six thousand miles 

... 1168- 

Suppressed Humanity 

... 1170 

Crime of reading Bible 

... 1173 

Non-resistance : True and false 

... 1174 

No faith in prayer 

... 1178 

Religion of volunteers 

... 1180 

Satyagraha : True and false 

... 1182 

Vegetarianism 

... 1x84. 

The same old argument 

... 1185 

Tyranny of words 

... 1188 

Tough question 

... 1x93 

Literalism 

... XI96 

Shraddhanandji — The Martyr 

... X199 

Brahmacharya or Self-control 

... X 202 

The duty of students 

... X 206 

Birth control 

... X 2 XO 

Some arguments considered 

... X 2 I 2 

Truth V. Brahmacharya 

... X 222 

On Brahmacharya 

... X 225 

Abolish marriage ! 

... X227 

Curse of child marriage 

... 1230 


B 



xviii CONTENTS 

Page. 

Conservation of vital energy 

... 1232 

Plight of school children 

.. 1235 

Defending child marriage 

... 1237 

Influence of attitudes 

... 1241 

Prostitution of ideals 

... 1246 

Indians in South Africa 

... 1248 

The agreement of 1914 

... 1249 

The South African puzzle 

... 1254 

The topic of the hour 

... 1256 

Difference in degree 

... 1259 

South Africa 

. ... 1262 

Indians in Australia 

... 1264 

A travesty 

.. 1266 

A day of prayer 

... 1266 

South African situation 

... 1269 

SOME OBITER DICTA 


Free trade v. protection 

... 1271 

Ja-men v. Amen 

... 1272 

Ignorance 

... 1272 

Change of heart 

... 1273 

To an inquirer 

... 1274 

For Gandhiji or country 

... 1274 

Mr. KeJkar’s contempt 

... 1275 

Reporters beware 

... 1276 

Lord Lytton's explanation 

.. 1277 

A bad comparison 

... 1279 

If I were Viceroy 

... T281 

A misunderstanding 

... 1282 

Rama Nama 

... 1283 

Stoning to death 

... 1284 

Some posers 

1285 

India's plight 

... 1286 

A typical letter 

... 1287 

A politician 

... 1289 



CONTENTS 

xiz 

Page. 

Have I property ? 

... 1290 

Deification of me 

... 1291 

Nationalism v. internationalism 

... 1292 

Institutions before parents 

... 1292 

Harsh v. pleasant truth 

... 1294 

Poor on 14 lacs ! 

... 1296 

Tree protection 

... 1297 

A Brahmo prayer 

... 1299 

Passengers’ day 

... 1300 

China’s plight 

... 1301 

Wreath or garland 

... 1302 

No labour, no meal 

... 1302 

American satisfaction 

... 1304 

5,000 miles away 

... 1304 

Self-help and mutual help 

... 130S 

Place of Sanskrit 

... 1306 

Sacrifice old and new — ^yagiia 

... 1306 

In search of guru 

... 1307 

Pundit Malaviyaji and the Bengal Government 

... 1308 

A tissue of misrepresentations 

... 1309 

Indian text books 

... 1310 

Knotty problems of non-violence 

... 1311 

From England 

... 1312 

A warning 

... 1312 

To journalist friends 

... 1313 

Bi-Amraan 

... 1314 

Late Parsi Rustomjee 

... 1315 

Man’s inhumanity to man 

... 1316 

Inter-dining 

... 1317 

Satyagrahi’s duty 

... 1318 

Cow protection 

... 1322 

Chronological Index 


Index 





INTRODUCTION 


The Civil Disobedience Committee and after . — In the Intro- 
duction to Young India 1919-1922 a narrative of events during 
the period of the Non-co-operation movement up to 31st August, 
1922 was given. The circumstances leading to the appoint- 
ment of the Civil Disobedience Enquiry Committee were 
detailed. The Enquiry Committee after a tour through the 
.country and after recording evidence regarding its preparedness 
or otherwise for Civil Disobedience came to the unanimous 
.conclusion that the country was not prepared to embark upon 
general Mass Civil Disobedience but recommended that Provin- 
•cial Congress Committees be authorised to sanction Civil 
Disobedience of a limited character on certain conditions. It 
was also of opinion, unanimously, that it was desirable to seek 
election to Municipalities, District and Eocal Boards with a 
view to facilitating the constructive programme, that aggressive 
propaganda against Government schools and colleges or law 
.courts should not be carried out and that organisation of labour 
should be taken in hand. There were also recommendations 
for giving to individuals full freedom to exercise the right with- 
in legal limits of private defence and for boycott of British 
goods. These last recommendations were not unanimous but 
unlike the recommendations regarding the lifting of the ban on 
legislative bodies they did not cause much controvers5^ The 
Gommittee was divided equally on the question of entry into 
the Councils. One set led by Pandit Motilal Nehru held that 
Non-co-operators should contest the election to the Councils on 
the issue of the redress of the Bengal and Khilafat wrongs and 
immediate Swaraj and in the case of their being returned in a 
majority large enough to prevent a quorum, they should afte 
taking their seats leave the Council Chamber in a body and 
take no part in the proceedings, attending occasionally only 



xxii 


INTRODUCTION 


for the purpose of preventing vacancies. In case they had a 
majority they were to oppose every measure of the Government 
including the Budget and only move resolutions for the redress 
of the aforesaid wrongs and the attainment of immediate Swaraj, 
In case of being returned in a minority they were to leave the 
Council Chamber without causing vacancies. The other party 
led by Mr. C. Rajgopalachari was of opinion that there should 
be no change in the programme of the Congress in respect of 
the boycott of the Councils. Deshabandhu C. R. Das who had 
been, in the meanwhile, released from jail agreed with the re- 
commendations of Pandit Motilal Nehru. 

The Congress and Council Entry . — ^The publication of 
the Report led to a very prolonged controversy. The All 
India Congress Committee met in Calcutta on the 20th 
November, 1922 under the presidency of Deshabandhu 
Das to consider the report and after a discussion extend- 
ing over several days ultimately postponed the consideration 
of the question regarding Council Entry to the next session 
of the Congress. The Congress met in December at Gaya 
under the presidency of Deshabandhu Das and the prin- 
cipal question which engaged its attention was naturally the 
question of Council Entry. The Congress on account of the 
interest which had been created in the controversy was very 
largely attended and continued its sessions for five days. It is 
sufficient to state that it turned down the resolution in favour 
of Council Entry and maintained the boycott of Councils by a 
large majority. It is remarkable that in spite of the fact that 
the most influential and trusted leaders like Deshabandhu Das,. 
Pandit Motilal Nehru and Hakim Ajmal Khan lent their 
powerful support in favour of a change in the original pro- 
gramme by removing the ban on Council Entry, the Congress 
refused under the advice of a comparatively younger and less 
known leader Shrijut C. Rajagopalachari to countenance any 
TV^eakening in it. 

, The controversy, however, did not end with the session of 
the Congress. Deshabandhu Das, Pandit Motilal Nehru and 



INTRODUCTION 


XKiii 


others formed a Party of those who favoured Council Entry 
named the Congress-Khilafat-Swarajya Party which came sub- 
sequently to be known simply as the Swarajya Party. In the 
programme of that Party the item which occupied the most 
prominent place was of course the one relating to Council 
Entry. It was stated that the party would set up candidates 
for seats in the Legislative Councils and the Assembly and on 
being elected they would present on behalf of the country its 
legitimate demands for acceptance and fulfilment by the Go- 
vernment within a reasonable time. In case the demands were 
not granted the party would adopt a policy of uniform, con- 
tinuous and consistent obstruction with a view to make govern- 
ment by the Councils impossible and that in no case would any 
inember of the Party accept oflS.ce. Other items related to the 
capture of Municipal, District and Local Boards, organisation 
of Labour, boycott of British goods, formation of a Federation of 
Asiatic countries and according support of the party to the con- 
structive programme of the Congress regarding Swadeshi, Khad- 
dar, temperance, untouchability. National education and settle- 
ment of disputes by arbitration. Deshabhandhu Das finding him- 
self in a minority in the Congress felt it his duty to tender resig- 
nation of his office as President of the Congress and of the All 
India Congress Committee. The All India Committee, how- 
ever, did not accept the resignation. As a result of the 
difference on the Council question the Congress was divided 
sharply into two different parties which came to be known 
as the No-change Party whicih wanted to stick to the programme 
of the boycott of Councils and the Pro-change or the Swarajya 
party. 

The Special Congress at Delhi . — The history of the 
following nine months is a history of barren controversy 
and futile attempts at compromises between the pro-changers 
and no-changers relieved only by one heroic effort at 
Nagpur under the lead of Seth Jamnalal Bajaj to save 
and uphold the honour of the National Flag by Satyagraha. 
This Satyagraha had its origin at Jubbulpore but found its full 



xxiv 


INTRODUCTION 


play at Nagpur where the Government had prohibited proces- 
sion with National Flags within the Civil lines. After a 
struggle of about two months or more in which nearly two 
thousand persons including Seth Jamnalal Bajaj disobeyed the 
order, courted, and were given, various terms of imprisonment, 
it came to an honourable close when the Government permitted 
a large procession to pass through the prohibited area without 
taking any steps to enforce obedience to its orders. 

A special session of the Congress was called to meet at 
Delhi on the 15th of September, 1923. Moulana Mohamad Ali 
had in the meantime been released from jail. Mr. Rajagopal- 
achari who had been leading the No-change Party in his absence 
withdrew himself into the back ground leaving the leadership to 
Moulana Mohamad Ali. The special Congress met under the 
presidency ot Moulana Abul Kalam Azad and under the 
guidance of Moulana Mohamad Ali representing the No-change 
group and Deshabhandhu Das and Pandit Motilal Nehru lead- 
ing the Swarajya Party passed a resolution according liberty to 
such Congressmen as had no religious or other conscientious 
objection to stand as candidates and exercise their right of vot- 
ing at the ensuing council elections. Thus the Swarajya Party 
found its way clear to enter the Councils. It is necessary to 
mention in passing that since the incarceration of Mahatma 
Gandhi serious differences leading to riots and bloodshed had 
arisen between the Hindus and the Mussulmans. This is not 
the place to enter into an examination of the causes which 
created discord where harmony had existed and which led the 
two communities to shed each other's blood instead of commingl- 
ing it in common sacrifice as they had done at Jallian walla Bagh 
and during the memorable fight offered by the nation in 1921 
which according to Lord Llyod, the Governor of Bombay, had 
led Indians almost within an ace of winning victory against the 
mighty British Government, The Hindu-Muslim riots have 
now become a common feature and even today in August 1927 
the incubus is sitting tight on the breast of a prostrate nation. 
With the close of the Council controversy at Delhi and increas- 



IITTRODUCTIOIT 


XXV 


•ing differences between the Hindu and the Mussalman and a 
general sense of tiredness among a large body of workers for 
any effective forward programme, more and more attention 
came to be given to the work in Councils. 

The Rise of the Swarajists . — ^The Delhi special Congress 
was soon followed by election to the Legislatures and 
'the Swarajya Party set up its candidates to contest the elec- 
tions and it succeeded remarkably well in the Central 
Provinces and Bengal. It also captured a substantial 
number of seats in the Legislative Assembly and in other 
Councils. In December 1923 the Congress met at Cocanada 
under the Presidentship of Moulana Mahomed Ali and 
practically reaffirmed the resolution regarding council entry 
passed in the Special session at Delhi. The year 1924 opened 
ivith the Swarajya Party in the Provincial Legislatures and the 
Legislative Assembly organising and consolidating its strength 
in combination with other Nationalist groups and preparing for 
a fight against the Government in the Councils. The 
^country was, however, convulsed with the news of the serious 
illness of Mahatma Gandhi in Yarvada Jail, his removal 
to hospital and operation on him for appendicitis. Some 
very anxious days were passed but the patient recovered and the 
‘Government did not send him back to jail but gave him an un- 
conditional release- In the Assembly the Swarajists were able 
with the help of other groups to throw out the Finance Bill 
which however was restored by the Viceroy in virtue of the 
special powers which he possesses to over-ride the decisions of 
the Assembly. In the Central Provinces the Council threw out 
the Budget and practically made the continuance of the minis- 
try under the reformed constitution impossible. The Govern- 
ment, however, could not be made impossible as the constitution 
reserved ample powers to the Governor to run the administra- 
tion without the ministers. The Governor in the exercise of 
such powers practically withdrew the reforms from operation in 
the Central Provinces. A similar contingency occured later on 
in Bengal and in exercise of similar powers the Government 



xxvi 


INTKODUCTION 


killed the Reforms there also. The work of the Swarajy a Party^ 
led as they were with tact and firmness, was creditable and they 
achieved whatever could be achieved by their tactics under the 
constitution. But the constitution reserved to the Government 
the powers of veto and certification and went on using those 
powers much to the discomfiture of those who had hoped that 
Government by certification and veto could not last long. We 
know now that it had lasted at least four years under the re- 
formed constitution and even in small matters of detail where 
some respect could easily have been shown to the wishes of the 
Legislature the Government has remained adamant. This is 
not the place to give a detailed history of the work of the Swa- 
rajy a Party in Legislative Assembly and the Provincial Coun- 
cils. It must be said to their credit that they fought and fought 
well and tried as best as they could with the members they had at 
their back to carry on obstruction, but the Constitution left very 
little room for obstruction and obstruction in a legislature is- 
nothing but co-operation looked at from a different angle of 
vision. 

Mahatma Gandhi's Release . — Mahatma Gandhi's recovery 
and release were naturally hailed with great rejoicing 
all over the country. People w'anted a lead from him. 
After a long period of convalescence and after anxious 
conversation with the leaders of the Swarajya Party, Mahatma 
Gandhi issued a statement reiterating his faith in the 
original Non-co-operation programme including the boy- 
cott of Councils but at the same time recognising the sincerity 
of those who differed from him on the council question and 
calling upon those who agreed with him to concentrate their 
attention on the Constructive programme sketched out by him^ 
before his incarceration. This statement was followed by 
another emphasising the need of strengthening the Congress^ 
organisation by insisting on having only those on the Congress 
Executive who not only believed in but also carried out in their 
own persons the boycott of Government titles, Government 
educational institutions, Government Law Courts and 



INTRODUCTION 


XXVll 


Government Councils and who further gave practical demon- 
stration of their adherence to the constructive programme as, for 
example, by spinning. A meeting of the All India Congress- 
Committee was held in June IQ24 at Ahmedabad and the 
suggestions of Mahatma Gandhi were discussed at great length* 
The attitude of the Swarajya Party was that it was an attempt on 
his part to exclude them from the Congress executive. He 
succeeded in getting the resolutions which he proposed passed 
through the Committee with a majority. But with character- 
istic generosity he declared that although he was in a majority 
he was really in a minority and he unltimately had a resolution 
passed which was in the nature of a compromise with the 
Swarajya Party. The meeting ended in gloom and Mahatma 
Gandhi was pained beyond measure to see the disruption of the 
great movement which he had led — a disruption which had 
been wrought about as much by those who had thrown out his- 
programme during his absence as by the inactivity, disorgani- 
sation and demoralisation of those who yet professed to follow 
him. A resolution which opened his eyes to the situation more 
than ever before was the one relating to the murder of an 
Englishman, Mr. Day, in Calcutta by a Bengalee youth who- 
confessed that he had intended to murder not Day who was in- 
nocent but the Commissioner of Police for his activity against 
the 'Revolutionary Party. Mahatma Gandhi was in favour of 
condemning such political murders as opposed to the creed of 
non-violence which had been accepted by the Congress* 
The resolution of condemnation was passed by the All 
India Congress Committee but the discussion which pre- 
ceded the vote showed the extent to which a considerable 
number of the members differed from Mahatma Gandhi in their 
belief in the creed of Non-violence. He at one time expressed 
a desire to withdraw from the Congress and to organise the 
country independently according to his, own ideas but he ulti- 
mately rejected this and continued to work within the Congress. 
His subsequent conduct had been one of gradual withdrawing 
from the active politics of the Congress and intensive concentra- 



“xxviii 


INTRODUCTION 


tion on the constructive programme, particularly hand-spinning. 
His endeavour has been to keep himself in the background 
without in any way weakening the Congress or the Swarajya 
Party* 

Hindu-Muslim Tension , — ^The Ahmedabad meeting was . 
preceded and followed by serious Hindu-Miislim riots in 
jmany places, the most harrowing amongst them being 
at Kohat. Mahatma Gandhi tried his best to stem 
the rising tide and ultimately on the l8th of September, 
1924, he began a twenty-one days’ fast at Delhi as a 
penance for Hindu-Muslim quarrels and made an appeal for 
unity. This created a great sensation and a Unity Conference 
was immediately called which was attended not only by Hindu 
and Mussalman delegates but also by the Metropolitan of India 
and by the representatives of other communities. It continued 
its deliberations for several days and passed several resolutions 
laying down principles of toleration and detailed instruc- 
tions regarding composition of differences arising out of obser- 
vance of rites by members of different communities. If only the 
resolutions had been acted upon by all concerned the history of 
India during the last three years could have been differently 
written. But alas! the wave of reconciliation which the memor- 
able fast had caused was short lived and India became once 
.again the playground of conflicting gusts of communal passions 
which resulted in numerous riots all over the country. To-day 
• one feels as if walking upon a powder magazine and no place 
•can be said to be safe from the risks of a communal upheaval. 
The worst passions have been roused by the preachings and 
propaganda of a class of unscrupulous men. To the frenzy of 
.a religious homicide Swami Shradhanand, one of the most de- 
voted and unselfish workers and most loved and respected 
leaders of the Hindus fell a victim in December, 1926 in cir- 
‘Cumstances of most cowardly treachery while lying in his sick- 
bed. 

The Suspension of Non^o-operaiion . — ^The fast was shortly 
followed by what was nothing short ot a revival of the Rowlatt 



INTRODUCTION 


xxix 


Act in the form of an Ordinance issued by Lord Reading on the 
25th October authorising arrest and detention without warrant 
or trial of persons on mere suspicion and it was quickly acted 
upon by the arrest of a large number of persons in Bengal in- ‘ 
eluding Mr. Subas Chandra Bose who was then the Chief Ex- 
ecutive officer of the Calcutta Corporation. Many of them are 
still in Jail suffering all kinds of ilhtreatment like common 
felons. Mr. Subas Chandra Bose has recently been released on 
account of serious illness. One effect of this ordinance was to ' 
combine all parties in its condemnation. There was a Pact bet- 
ween Mahatma Gandhi and Swarajists whereby it was recom- 
mended to the Congress which was to be held in the following 
December at Belgaum that in order to bring about unity 
amongst all parties the programme of Non-co-operation as a 
National Programme should be suspended except in regard *to 
the boycott of foreign cloth. It was also recommended that the 
Congress work be divided into different departments, and the 
Swarajya Party be treated as the department for work in the 
Council. Hand-spinning and wearing of hand-spun and hand- 
woven Khaddar at Congress functions was to be made a quali- 
fication for Congress membership. The^Congress which met at 
Belgaum in December was presided over by Mahatma Gandhi 
and a resolution practically confirming the Pact and formally 
suspending the programme of Non-co-operation as the National 
Programme was passed by it. The Swaraj Party with its 
Council Programme became the predominant party in the Con- 
gress and its subsequent history is the history of controversy 
between two sections of its members, one insisting on obstruc- 
tion within the Legislatures and non-acceptance of offices within 
the gift of the Government such as ministerships and the other 
demanding a logical extention of the principle and policy which 
had led them out of boycott into the Councils. The other Party 
which has come to be known as the Responsive Co-operation 
Party and is led by the Maharashtra group under Mr. 
N.C. Kelkar insists upon the acceptance of offices also where— 
ever necessary and useful to advance the Nationalist cause. 



:xxx 


INTRODUCTION 


The Congress which met in December 1925 at Cawnpore 
witnessed a clear-cut division between the orthodox Swarajists 
and the Responsive Co-operationists. The Swaraj Party . in 
the course of the year lost its great leader Deshabandhu 
C. R. Das who expired on l6th June, 1925 at Darjeeling 
•casting a gloom all over the country. Pandit Motilal Nehru 
who succeeded to the leadership of the Party was able to carry 
the country with him and induced the Congress at Cawnpore 
in spite of influential opposition of the Responsivist group to 
take over the reponsibility of running election and laying down 
the programme of work in Councils. The elections to the 
Legislatures which thus took place in 1926 were contested not 
only by Independents and Liberals but also by two antagonistic 
:groups among Congressmen, the one representing the Swaraj 
Party which had for all practical purposes merged in the 
Congress and the other representing the Responsivists. The 
result has been that while the Congress group has succeeded in 
many places it is nowhere strong enough by itself to carry out 
'effective obstruction or to prevent the formation of Ministry. 
The Responsivists too are not strong enough to form a Minis- 
try of their own unaided but they have formed a Ministry in 
Central Provinces in combination with other groups. It is yet 
too early to pass any judgment on their achievements. The 
Congress which met in December 1926 at Gauhati practically 
endorsed the Swarajist programme for work in the Councils. 

The Khilafat Question , — In bringing to a close this 
•short history of Non-co-operation movement — its causes, 
progress and effects, it is necessary to mention that the 
Rhilafat question which along with the redress of the 
Punjab wrongs and the attainment of Swaraj had been 
one Qi its immediate causes, was after a good deal of diplo- 
matic moves, manoeuvres and negotiations ultimately set at 
Test by the victory of the Turks against the Greeks which 
enabled the Turks to establish a strong republic under 
Mustapha Kemal Pasha with its capital at Angora after the 
-deposition of the Sultan and the abolition of the Khilafat. The 



mTRODUOTiON 


XXXI 


holy places of Islam at Hedias have also passed out of the 
control of non-Muslims or their proteges by the victories of 
Sultan Ibn Saud against Sherif Huzain who during the Great 
War had revolted against the Khalifa and had joined the allies. 

Satyagraha as a Practical Weapon , — This narrative will 
not be complete without a brief reference to some instances 
of practical application of Satyagraha, which is the flower 
and fruit of Non-co-operation to the solution of our pressing 
problems. The Sikhs being dissatisfied with the condition 
of their religious institutions known as Gurudwaras which 
had large endowments started an intensive propaganda 
for their reform. That campaign consisted in the capture of 
the Gurudwaras by the Reformed Party known as Akalis and 
brought them into collision with the Government which support- 
ed established Mahants. The Akalis offered Satyagraha and 
with singular adherence to non-violence sufiered not only im- 
prisonment in their thousands and for long terms, confiscation 
of property and even shooting but also undescribable horrors 
at the hands of the Police who mercilessly beat them until 
they were left unconscious at the places alloted to them for 
Satyagraha. The Akali struggle exhibits the strength of their 
faith in the justice of their cause, a deeply religious conviction, 
a perfectly disciplined organisation, a grim determination to 
suffer without retaliating and the ultimate triumph of their 
cause. It shall ever shine as a memorable application of the 
principles of Satyagraha and its unfailing effect. 

No less striking applications of the same principle were 
seen at Vykom in South India and in the Borsad Taluka in 
Gujerat. The Vykom Satyagraha was started for removing the 
restrictions imposed upon the so-called un-touchables prohibit- 
ing them from walking along certain roads near temples. The 
Volunteers who came from all strata of society carried out the 
struggle and ultimately succeeded in getting the road opened 
but not before they had undergone considerable suffering. The 
Borsad Satyagraha was a practical essay in non-payment of 
taxes by the inhabitants of a whole Taluka comprising about a 



xxxii 


INTRODUCTION 


hundred villages. A free-booter was at large committing, 
dacoity and loot and the police were unable to capture him. On 
the pretext that the residents of these villages were sheltering, 
him an additional Police Force was posted and the costs for its 
maintenance amounting to about two and a half lakhs were 
ordered to be realised from the inhabitants. They refused to- 
pay the unjust imposition and the Government, being unable to- 
realise it by sequestration and sale of the property of the 
inhabitants among whom none could be found to purchase them 
at auction sales held for the purpose or even to remove them to 
a place where they could be sold, was compelled to withdraw the 
imposition. 

Even to-day Satyagraha is being resorted to in two distant 
places on two distinct issues. At Patukhali in Eastern Bengal 
Hindus have been carrying on Satyagraha by courting imprison- 
ment for more than a year to enforce their right to play 
music on public roads and take religious processions past 
mosques. At Nagpur, in the Central Provinces, Satyagraha is- 
resorted to for getting a repeal of the “ lawless laws under 
which a large number of Bengalis are detained in jails without, 
trial or charge in any laW court under orders of the Executive 
Government. The form this Satyagraha is taking is to disobey 
the Arms Act by carrying arms without license. 

Back to the Constructive Programme . — ^With the formal 
suspension of the Non-co-operation programme Non-co- 
operation may be said to have waned ; but it is alive and 
the spirit is seen working in different directions. Satya- 
graha has come to stay: only observance of the very strict 
rules within which alone it can be worked successfully and effec- 
tively is not yet as widely understood as it should be. The Non- 
co-operation movement came like a huge flood of the Ganges* 
carrying everything before it. It came quickly but it disap- 
peared also quickly, principally because its basic principles and 
their implications were not fully grasped. There is no doubt 
that it carried along with it a great deal of filth also but that 
could not be avoided, and to-day after seeing it rise and subside 



INTRODUCTION 


xxxiii 


one feels that while it has thrown on the surface much that was 
unhealthy and dirty it has left behind it a silt which is the very 
•salt of the earth and has given to the Indian soil a fertility that 
was never there at any time during the British occupation of 
India. The shoots arising out of the soil made so fertile are 
seen in thousands of homes which had become desolate in the 
shape of little spinning wheels. They are* being carefully 
tended by Mahatma Gandhi who started an association known 
-as the All India Spinners Association in IQ25 for the purpose of 
developing hand-s})inning unhampered by changes in political 
opinions and yet as an integral part of the Congress which 
olaims to represent not only the rich and the middle classes but 
also the very poorest of the land. These young shoots are 
being watered by the sweat and sacrifice of hundreds of men 
and women all over the country who are giving all their time to 
the revival of this ancient and vital handicraft of India. They 
are prospering under the sunshine of the smile of the people 
who are coming to realise more and more that the economic 
‘Salvation of a country like India where 8o p. c. of the popula- 
tion lives on agriculture alone can be found only through a 
cottage industry which can supply them a commodity universal- 
ly in demand and which can at the same time be worked by the 
people in their off-hours without giving up their agricultural 
work. The progress that has been made in reviving this 
ancient handicraft is recorded in the pages of Young India from 
week to week, and considering the difficulties in its way, the 
competition it has to face against cheaper mill made cloth — 
Indian and foreign, the general apathy and in some cases even, 
open hostility it has to contest against the progress has 
been truly marvellous and gives ample cause for hope for its 
future. 

A Critical Phase , — While these lines are being written, 
India is passing through a most critical phase of depres- 
sion. The Hindu-Muslim tension is deep and wide-spread. 
There are numerous parties and groups in the political field 
pulling in all possible directions. The Government has been 

O 



xxxiv 


INTRODUCTION 


consolidating its power in the legislatures by winning over 
the weaker and more “reasonable*^ members and has not been 
over scrupulous in showing its strength against popular 
demands. But dark as the horizon is, it is not without its- 
silver lining. 

Efforts are being made to solve the apparently insoluble 
Hindu-Muslim problem. The question in its political aspect is 
sought to be solved on the basis of an understanding abrogating 
separate electorate for Mussalmans on certain conditions and 
safeguarding the political rights of minorities. The religi- 
ous differences are sought to be solved on the basis of the 
resolutions which were unanimously adopted by delegates of 
all communities at the Unity Conference at Delhi during 
Mahatma Gandhi’s fast. Unity amongst political parties is 
sought to be brought about by recognising that in spite 
of differences in respect of details and methods, all are agreed 
on the fundamental question of the attainment of Swaraj by 
India and that even in the matter of methods of work in the 
Councils and in the country it should not be impossible for 
the parties to adjust their differences and evolve a common 
programme of work, now that non-co-operation has been 
suspended by the Congress. 

Whatever form that common programme may take, it must 
be based on a clear recognition of the bed-rock fact that Indians 
can win their way to freedom only by service and sacrifice. 
India, weak, divided, disorganised and demoralised, cannot attain 
and retain Swaraj. India, pure, strong, united, organised and 
determined, cannot be kept from Swaraj in spite of the best and 
the worst that England can do against her. The aim of Young 
India has been to build up that strength, purity, unity, organisa- 
tion and determination, and may it continue under Mahatma 
Gandhi to inspire the nation and lead it to victory ! 

27th August, 1927 Rajendra Prasad. 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE 


In this the second volume of Young India, Mahatma 
Oandhi’s writings in his journal from the years 1924 to 1926 
have, with his permission and blessings, been collected, 
.edited and brought together in book form onthe lines adopted 
in the first volume. 

The period to which these articles relate was one of grave 
trial for the Non-co-operation Movement ; many who joined it 
fin the first flush of enthusiasm wavered ; several broke away 
from it ; a few turned definitely hostile. This revolt, on the part 
•of not a few who had proclaimed themselves to be his followers, 
from the hard discipline which his method of securing national 
salvation involves, was, of course, a disappointment to Mahatma 
-Gandhi : but, as the writings embodied in this volume will 
•show, he stands unnerved by these developments and unshaken 
in his faith in Satyagraha ; in the need, however hard it be, for 
the upliftment of the masses by conscious striving on the part 
•of the classes ; and in those trying tasks such as the univers- 
.alisation of the use of the spinning wheel by which alone, 
he holds, national solidarity may be secured and national 
prosperity promoted. 



Of Interest to You 


Rs. A. 

By Mahatma G-andhi 
Autobiography 
Young India 1924-26 
Young India 1919-22 
Guide to Health 
Neethi Dharma 
Indian Home Rule 

With Gandhiji in Indian Village^ 

By Mahadev Desai 

Some Financial Problems of India 
BY “ K ” 


In the Press Orders Registered 

Seven Months with Mahatmaji Yol. I 
By Krishna Das 

Gandhiji in Champaran 
By Rajendra Prasad 

Satyagraha in South Africa 
By Mahatma Gandhi 


5 8 

4 0- 
4 0 
0 12 
0 8 
0 8 

2 0 * 
0 a 



PREFATORY NOTE TO THE FIRST VOLUME 


With the incarceration of Mahatma Gandhi, his writings in 
Young India have passed beyond the pale of polemical politics, 
and entered the realm of the “classic” literature. Far more 
than their practical value to India, at present or hereafter, is> 
their value to the world at large, embodying in them a philo- 
sophy of life and practical conduct elaborated by the experience 
of the lifetime of a soul which will undoubtedly rank in history 
as that of one of the world’s greatest of men. 

A few isolated articles are all that have so far been publish- 
ed in book form and the need for a systematic collection of all 
the articles, numbering hundreds, and their presentation in a 
carefully edited form, is the justification for this publication. 
The task of editing has not been easy. To have arranged the 
articles in a wholly chronological order would perhaps have 
been preferred by the few close followers of Young India who* 
till recently have been comparatively few. On the other hand,, 
the by far more numerous lay readers who pay serious and 
systematic attention to the writings for the first time — and their 
number is bound to grow — ^prefer, as experience proves, a 
logical arrangement. A wholly logical arrangement would, 
however, have required an amount of editing vrhich would have 
been incompatible with the publisher’s desire not to tamper 
with the original in any way. The result is a compromise 
whereby while the articles are sorted and grouped under ten 
sections, so as to facilitate the study of particular subjects, they 
are, within these sections, arranged exactly as they appeared in 
Young India. In all cases, where to have given the whole 
article would only have been unduly burdening the book, the 
articles have been carefully summarised and given as footnotes 
in appropriate places. As far as possible, even observations by 
the way, though on topics of but momentary interest, have 



3 cxxviii 


wherever they are in the nature of valuable obiter dicta, been 
also included. All endeavour has thus been made to give in 
this one volume the valuable writings of Mahatmaji and others 
in Young India from the date of its fir^t publication in Ahmed a- 
bad, 1919 to the date of his imprisonment in 1922. Throughout, 
the writings have been approached as an earnest and reverent 
-student in search solely of Truth would have done, so that the 
collection might be a reliable account of the Mahatmaji ’s views 
to all who desire seriously to study them. 


m 



CURRENT THOUGHT 


A High Class Monthly Review: 

Publisher : S. Ganesan, Triplicane, Madras 

Annual Subsosiption: Inland Rs. 5 ; Foreign Rs. 7 
Single Copy As. 8 

SjATYAG-RA-HA. Iisr south APRIOA 
By Mahatma Gandhi 
AND 

THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS 
WITH TRUTH 

by Mahatma Gandhi are being published serially . 

All the books are otven at concession rates to 
Subsc7 ibei'S of CURRENT THOUGHT. Particulars and 
descriptive catalogue free on application to 

S GANASAN, Triplicane, Madras. 




YOUNG INDIA 


Srd Aprils 19M 

FOR THE READERS PAST AND PRESENT OF 
‘YOUNG INDIA’ 

By M. K. Gandhi 

It is not without much hesitation that I resume the 
editorship of Young India. I do not know whether my 
health can yet sustain the energy required for conduct- 
ing the paper. But I cannot foresee. I can only dimly 
understand God’s purpose in bringing me out of my 
retirement in Yerowada. In taking up the editorial con- 
trol of Navajivan and Yotijig India I am following th,e 
Light as far I see it. 

Nor have lany new message to deliver to the reader. 
I had hoped for release by an act of a Swaraj ParHament 
and to be able to take my humble share in serving Fr^e 
India. That was not to be. 

We have yet to attain freedom. I have no new 
programme. My faith in the old is just as bright as 
ever if not brighter. Indeed one’s faith in one’s plans 
and methods is truly tested when the horizon before one 
is the blackest. 

Though therefore so far as my mipd can perceive, 
there will be no new method or policy developed in the 
pages of Young India, I hope they will not be etale. 



2 


YOUNG INDIA 


Young India will be stale when Truth becomes stale. I 
want to see God face to face. God I know is Truth. For 
me the only certain means of knowing God is non- 
violence — Ahimsa — love. I live for India’s freedom and 
would die for it, because it is part of Truth. Only a free 
India can worship the true God. I work for India’s free- 
dom because my Swadeshi teaches me that being born 
in it and having inherited her culture, I am fittest to 
serve her and she has a prior claim to my service. But 
my patriotism is not exclusive ; it is calculated not only 
not to hurt any other nation but to benefit all in the 
true sense of the word. India’s freedom as conceived 
by me can never be a menace to the world. 

But if it is not to be such a menace, the means ad- 
opted for gaining it must be strictly non-violent. My 
interest in India’s freedom will cease if she adopts 
violent means, for their fruit will be not freedom but 
slavery in disguise. And if we have not yet attained 
our freedom, it is because we have not been non-violent 
in thought, word and deed. It is true that non-violence 
has been adopted as policy i.e, because we are convinced 
that by no other means India achieve her freedom. 
Our policy is not, must not be, a camouflage. We may 
not harbour violence under cover of non-violence. 
Whilst we claim to be non-violent for a particular pur*- 
pose and a particular period, our thought and word 
must accord with our practice for that purpose 
and that period. Even so does an honest gaoler act 
towards a condemned man. He protects his life at the 
peril of his own till the date of the extreme penalty. He 
thinks and speaks of his safety. He is, for the time and 
the person, non-violent in thought, word and deed. 

We pledged ourselves* to be non- violent towards 



FOR THE READERS OF YOUNG INDIA 3 

each other and our opponents whether administrators or 
co-operators. We were to appeal to their hearts and evoke 
the best in them, not play upon their fear to gain our 
end. Consciously or unconsciously the majority of us 
— the articulate portion — have not been true to our 
pledge. We have been intolerant towards our opponents. 
Our own countrymen are filled with distrust of us. They 
simply do not believe in our nonviolence. Hindus and 
Mussulmans in many places have provided an object 
lesson not in non-violence but in violence. Even the 
^changers’ and the ‘no-changers’ have flung mud against 
one another. Each has claimed the monopoly of truth 
and with an ignorant certainty of conviction sworn at 
the other for his helpless stupidity. 

The pages of Young India can only, therefore, 
illustrate the utility and the necessity^ of mon^violence 
in dealing with the questions that engage public atten- 
tion. So much for the central policy of Young India, 

A word as to the business side.* Some of the readers 
till recollect that I announced that when at the instance 
of Mr. Shankerlal Banker and other friends I took up the 

* In Young India of 15th May, 1924, Mahatma G-andhi wrote 
tinder the heading ‘ Young India * and ‘ Navajivan * : — ^A correspondent 
writes to me about the donation for Khaddar production, of the pro- 
fits of Rs. 50000 of the Navjivan Press, and says that the profits show 
■that the prices of the weeklies could have been considerably 
reduced so as to make them available to a larger public. I give below 
extracts from the letter. 

“Recently an announcement was made in the Press that the 
Navajivan Press had made a profit of about Rs. 50000 — and that 
sum was to be spent in some charitable purposes. This shows 
that by the grace of God the Press is not in loss and the manage- 
ment is to be congratulated on that account. 

But I and many others in this line fail to understand why 
the price of the paper of 8 pages with such rough paper is so very 



4 


YOUNG INDIA 


editing of Young India^ I told the public tlidt it was run 
at a loss and that I would be obliged to give it up if the 

exhorbitant in spite of the low cost of paper prevalent at present. 
Two annas for a copy of ‘Young India' is too much for the 
general reading public of India, and ‘Navajivan ' for as. 1J4 is also* 
too much. India is a very poor country and that is an acknow- 
ledged fact. If they are making profits, is it not fair that their 
prices should be decreased and thus make them available for the 
big masses ? 

In this connexion I may say that the noteworthy English 
weeklies such as ‘Saturday Review,* ‘The Nation and Athe- 
naeum,* ‘The American Nation,* ‘ The Spectator ’ etc., are far 
cheaper even at the rate of 6d., since they contain more than, 
three times the number of pages. If it is not possible to decrease 
the price of the weeklies under your control, can you not con- 
veniently manage to increase the number of pages ? 

Some of us would believe that even if the ‘Young India’ and 
' ‘ Navajivan * are sold at 2 to 3 pice, they will not be under loss so- 
long as they are edited by your goodself. If you think that you 
owe an explanation to the public in this connexion you may 
explain this through your paper. 

Now suppose that the papers are not making profits nor are 
likely to make any even at the prevailing prices of as.2-and 
as. can you not manage to put some amount of the profit of 
the Press in these papers and thus make them cheap ? ** 

,I have consulted the manager about the subject-matter of the 
letter and both he and I have come to the conclusion that the prices, 
could not be safely reduced for the following reasons: — 

1. Profits are a precarious item. 

2. Reduction of the prices will make no. difference in the num-. 
her of subscribers. 

3. The masses do not count as readers because they cannot read- 

4. My editing, though it has somewhat increased the number of 
subscribers, has not made any material increase. The papers are by 
no means as popular as they were before because perhaps of the 
subsidence of excitement. Young India zxA Hindi Navajivanhz.y^ not 
yet begun to pay their way and unless English readers of Young 
India and Hindi readers of Hindi Navajivan interest themselves in the 



FOR THE RBA.DERS OP YOUNG INDIA 


5 


loss continued. I do not believe in publishing news- 
papers indefinitely at a loss or by means of advertise- 
ments. If a paper supplies a felt want, it must pay its 
way. The subscription list however ran up steadily week 
by week and it began to yield profits. But during the 
last two years as the reader is aware the list has fallen 
from 21,500 to 3,000 and it is now being run at a loss. 
Happily NavajLvan'hdi^ made up for it. But even that 
method is wrong. Young India must stand on its own 
bottom or fall. It is likely that if I still retain the 
personal affection of the old readers, Young India will 
soon pay its way. But I have mentioned the loss not 
only to acquaint the public with the true state of affairs 
but also as an introduction to an important announce- 
ment. 

When Messrs. Banker and Yajnik suggested that 

upkeep of these weeklies and secure more subscribers, the question of 
stopping them may soon arise. 

5. It is a bad policy to print a cheap newspaper by making 
profits from other work. I want the readers to be just as much 
interested in the upkeep of the papers as the manager and the editor 
are. 

6. It is better that the readers become direct participators in 
■the donation of profits than that they get their paper cheap. 

7. If there is a public that does not buy the papers by reason of 
■the prices, it is open to well-to-do subscribers, interested in the 
circulation of the views and policies advocated in the papers, to order 
as many cppies as they choose and if there is a large demand, lower 
prices will certainly be quoted for them. 

8. In view of the suggestion in clause 7, the question of the 
high prices is not a matter of moment since the public benefit by 
every single pie of the profits. 

9. , The size of the papers cannot very well be increased, if only 
hecausp I have but limited capacity and the papers have only a limit- 
ed ambition. The public do not want from me a larger weekly letter 
than they are getting at present. 




6 


YOUNG INDIA 


the Gujarati Navijivan wJiicli was then a monthly, 
should be turned into a weekly and edited by me and 
when I undertook the responsibility, I announced that 
it would be given up if it proved a loss and that if there 
were profits, they would be utilized for some public 
purpose. Navajivan soon became profitable but at the 
instance of Sheth Jamnalalji, Navajivan was com- 

menced. It too had just begun to pay its way when my 
arrest took place and the circulation steadily fell. It is 
now again being issued at a loss. But in spite of these 
losses the large circulation of Navajivan and other pub- 
lications enable the management to devote Rs. 50,000 
to public work. Swami Anandanand who is managing 
the Navajivan press has left it entirely to me to allocate 
the money and as I know no other and better method of 
utilising it, I propose to devote the sum throxigh the 
agency of the Provincial Congress Committee to the 
spread of the spinning wheel and Khadi in Gujarat in- 
cluding Kathiawad. Preference will be given to their 
spread among poor women and the suppressed classes. 
It is due to my co-workers that I s'hould inform the 
public that with some of them the work is a labour of 
love. Where they receive payment, .it is just enough 
for their wants. The result of such work is before the 
public. I know that if from the sweeper upward I could 
secure selfless workers, with the efficient management I 
have the good “fortune to have to-day, it would be possi- 
ble to show a better surplus. 

I should also like to add that if Young India again 
shows profits, as it did before my imprisonment, they 
will be distributed for All-India work. If any profits are 
derived from Hindi Navajivan, they will be devoted to 
the spread of Hindi. 



NATIONAL UNITY 




lOih April 1924 

CAMPAIGN OF MISREPRESENTATION 
By M. K. Gandhi 

At the present moment there seems to be a wilful 
attempt being made to widen the gulf between Hindus 
and Mussalmans. Some newspapers, both Hindu and 
Muslim, are leaving no stone unturned to inflame 
passions and unfortunately they do not hesitate to resort 
to exaggeration and even misrepresentation. Where 
they are not themselves consciously guilty of such 
methods, they recklessly copy without verification 
everything in the nature of a sensation that appears in 
any other newspaper. 

One such statement was made with reference to 
Maulana Mahomed Ali, He was reported to have said 
that an adulterous Mussalman was better than myself. 
That there should have been found any person willing 
to believe such a thing of Maulana Mahomed Ali shows 
the degree of tension that exists between Hindus and 
Mussalmans. The reader will find in another column a 
translation of the two letters* written by the Maulana, 

■^The following are the material portions of the letter addressed 
"by Maulana Mahomed Ali to Swami Shri Shraddhanandji, the letter 
addressed to The Tej being to a similar effect : 

Some Mussalman friends have been constantly flinging at me the 
<5harge of being a worshipper of Hindus and a G-andhi -worshipper. The 
real object of these gentleman was to alienate from me the Mussal- 
man community, the Khilafat Committee and the Congress, by re- 
presenting that I had become a follower of Mahatma G-andhi in my 
religious principles. I had, therefore, on several occasions plainly 



10 


NATIONAL UNITY 


one to Swami Shri Shraddhanandji and the other to Tej. 
In my opinion the letters dispose of once for all the 
calumny against the Maulana that has been going the 
round of the Press. Enemies of India’s freedom have 

declared that m the matter of religion, I professed the same beliefs as 
any other true Mussalman, and as such I claimed to he a follower of 
the Prophet Mahomed (on him be peace) and not of Gandhiji. And 
further that since I hold Islam to be the highest gift of God, 
therefore, I was impelled by the love I bear towards Mahatmaji to 
pray to God that he might illumine his soul with the true light of 
Islam. I wish, however, to emphatically declare that I hold that 
to-day neither the representatives of Islam nor of the Hindu, Jewish, 
Hazarene or Parsi faiths can present another instance of such high 
character and moral worth as Gandhiji and that is the ^ reason 
why I hold him in such high reverence and affection. I deeply revere 
my own mother, and if contentment and gratefulness under all 
circumstances be the true meaning of Islam, I claim there is no 
person, howsoever well versed in religion, who has understood it 
better than she. Similarly I regard Maulana Abdul Ban as my 
religious guide. His loving kindness holds me in bondage. I deeply 
admire his sincerity of heart. But inspite of all this, I make bold to 
say that I have not yet found any person who in actual character is 
entitled to a higher place than Mahatma Gandhi. 

But between belief and actual character there is a wide diffe- 
rence. As a follower of Islam I am bound to regard the creed of Islam 
as superior to that professed by the followers of any non-Islamic 
religion. And in this sense the creed of even a fallen and degraded 
Mussalman is entitled to a higher place than that of any other non- 
Muslim irrespective of his high character, even though the person 
in question be Mahatma Gandhi himself. 

At Lucknow, when just before the commencement of my speech, 
some one placed a printed copy of the question in reference in my 
hand for reply (copies of which had also been freely distributed 
among the audience) I had stated that I did not want to answer any 
such questions, as I did not .consider t^at any one, unless he could 
prove that he bore a greater affection towards Mahatmaji than I did 
was entitled to charge me with having reviled him. It was only 
when I was told that the point at issue was not that I had reviled 



CAMPAIGN OF MISREPRESENTATION 11 


not hesitated to distort the Maulana’s statement and 
use it for the purpose of setting the Hindus against the* 
Mauiana Saheb. I venture to commend his letters to* 
the attention of every thoughtful Hindu. The letters in 
my humble opinion demonstrate the transparent honesty 
of the Mauiana. 

What is the original statement which has been so- 
cruelly distorted by some newspapers? He says in effect 
that the creed of Islam is better than my creed. Is there 
anything offensive in the statement? So long as there 
are different religions, is not the Maulana’s position the 
only logical and honest one? I have very dear Christian 
friends in South Africa and in India. They pray for 
light for me. One of them, a retired solicitor of standing* 
in South Africa, urges me to accept Jesus Christ and 
his salvation. He says that without that all my effort 
will be useless. Thousands of Christians certainly hold 
that a righteous man without belief in Jesus Christ is 
less than an adulterous Christian. Does an orthodox: 
Hindu fare better? If he does, why is there all this 


Mahatmaji, but that I had reviled the Hindu religion, that I gave* 
the above-stated reply. A report of my speech had appeared in the 
Hamdcmi at that time, i. e., about one month ba^k. I had said 
further therein that every Christian believed that a Christian, how- 
ever degraded or fallen, was entitled to a higher place in regard to* 
the matter of belief as contra-distinguisbed from actual character 
than any Mtissalman or Jew, irrespective of his high character 
and the same was the case with Hindus or followers of any other 
religion. My reply proved so satisfactory that ,as I have alrejady 
mentioned a Hindu friend shouted out that 22 crores of Hindus- 
were prepared to stand by me and several Hindu, members of the 
audience acclainjjed, it with cries of Bande Mataram, Allaho Akbar„ 
while the persons, who had brought the printed copies of the- 
question were completely silenced. 



12 


NATIONAL UNITY 


feverish agitation regarding Shuddhi? Tn making the 
choice of a husband for his daughter, will he choose the 
best character irrespective of religion or the best 
man in his ownsecfc'^ ? And if he vvill restrict the choice 
to his own circle, does it not show that he too like the 
Maulana believes that his creed is the best of all ? 

« * Writing in Young India of 24tli under the heading “ What is 
Hinduism T\ Mahatma Gandhi wrote in reply to a correspondent who 
took exception to the marriage analogy : 

I adhere to the marriage illustration chosen by me, though I now 
see that it would have been better for me to have avoided it. It is 
not a conclusive illustration. There are, I admit, with my critics 
many reasons for confining the choice of, a husband to a particular 
class. But I do claim that the predominant reason for excluding the 
best man if he happens to belong, as he often does, to another class 
or caste is his creed. A Brahmin parent chooses a Brahmin as a 
husband for ‘his daughter because he prefers the general body of 
opinion which may be called creed held by his clan. Underlying the 
preference is no doubt the belief that acceptance of a creed ultimate- 
ly involves practice in accordance with it. A narrow creed if it is 
honestly believed has necessarily a limited field for practice. A creed 
for instance that makes it obligatory to offer human sacrifice will 
never free the believer from the taint of religious murder unless he 
gives up the creed. Thus it is that we find people otherwise most 
moral disappointing us when they fall short of the highest because of 
their narrow creed. Many sincere and otherwise noble-minded 
Hindus consider untouchability as a part of the Hindu creed and 
would therefore regard the reformers as outcastes. £f untouchability 
was a part of the Hindu creed, I should decline to call myself a 
Hindu and most decidedly embrace some other faith if it satisfied my 
highest aspirations. Fortunately for me, I hold that untouchability 

no part of Hinduism. On the contrary it is a serious blot upon it, 
which every lover of it must sacrificie himself to remove. Suppose, 
however, I discovered that untouchability was really an integral part 
of Hinduism, I should have to wander in the wilderness because the 
other creeds as I know them through their accepted interpreters 
would not satisfy my highest aspirations. 



CAMPAIGN OF MISREPRESENTATION 

The Manlana has stated the religious law in 
picturesque language and feeling safe, as he had a 
right to do, that I could not be offended, he chose me as 
one of his best Hindu' friends for his illustration and 
showed that his creed he held superior to persons, no 

My correspondent accuses me of tlie crime of using the ambi- 
guous middle in that I have confused Truth and non-violence with 
the Hindu creed. The crime is deliberate. It is the good fortune or 
the misfortune of Hinduism that it has no official creed. In order 
therefore to protect myself against any mis-understanding I have 
said Truth and non-violence is my creed. If I were asked to define 
the Hindu creed I should simply say ; search after Truth through 
non-violent means. A man may not believe even in God and still 
call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after Truth 
and if to-day it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to* 
growth, it is because we are fatigued and as soon as the fatigue is 
over, Hinduism will burst forth upon the world with a brilliance 
perhaps unknown before. Of course, therefore, Hinduism is the 
most tolerant of all religions. Its creed is all-embracing. But 
that is to claim superiority for the Hindu creed over all the other 
creeds of the world. As I write these lines, I feel a crowd of 
sectarians whispering to me, “That is no Hinduism you are defining,, 
come to us and we will show you the Truth.” I am confounding all. 
these whisperers by saying Neti Neti ‘not that, my friends not 
that and they make confusion worse confounded by retorting with 
redoubled fury. ‘Hot that, not that.’ But still another voice whispers 
to me, “Why all this duelling — this war of words ? I can show you a 
way out of it. It lies through silent prayer.” For the moment I 
propose to listen to that voice and observe silence and ask my friends 
to do likewise. Possibly I have failed to convince them and their 
co-sharers in their opinion. If I have failed to convince, it is because- 
I have not seen the light. I can give my assurance that I have not 
indulged in special pleading in order to defend Maulana Mahomed 
Ali. If I discover my error, I hope I shall have the courage to own 
it. The Maulana needs no defence from me. And I should be a 
false friend, if in order to defend him I sacrificed an iota of truth. If 
is the special privilege of a friend to own the other’s faults and 
redeclare his affection in, spite of faults. 



14 


NATIONAL UNITY 


matter how dear they might be to him. I hold that hp 
'deserves to be honoured for the staunchness of his faith 
rather than be accused of coldness for a friend or dis- 
xespect for the latter*s creed.* 

Nor need his prayers for me that I should find it in 
my heart to accept Islam cause any alarm or surprise. 
He would not be a true friend if he did not wish the best 
{according to his belief) for me. My creed is truth and 
non-violence in their extreme form. I may be wrong. 
JBut if I wish well to my friends I cannot but wish that 
they may have the same creed so long as I continue to 
believe it to be the best. I remain within the Hindu 
fold because it stands best the test laid down by my 
•creed. 

The Swamijiin his note whilst heartily and unreser- 
vedly accepting the Maulana’s letter remarked that his 
creed made no difference between practice ^nd pro- 
fession as the Maulana’s appeared to him to do. The 
second letter of the Maulana clears up the point and 
clinches the whole argument when he says that his 
creed too does not divorce practice from profession. He 

* Writing in Young India of 15tli May, 1924 on “ several ably 
argued letters ” received by him questioning his defence of Maulana 
Mahomad Ali, Gandhiji wrote under the caption ** A Full 
^top : I do not share the opinion expressed by one of the corres- 
pondents that the Maulana has betrayed ill-will against Hindus and 
that there is no chance now of Hindu -Muslim union. That union is 
coming in spite of the present ferment and in spite of us all. Even 
if the Maulana was not a lover of the union but its enemy in disguise 
the position will not be altered. We are but straws in the hands of 
Ood. He can blow us where He pleases. We cannot oppose His 
will. He has made us all to unite, not to remain apart for ever. I 

wish I could iiifect my correspondents with my hope and faith. Then 
they will find no cause for distrusting the Maulana. 



CAMPAIGN OF MISREPRESENTATION 15 

adds that in his letter he merely compared the world’s 
creeds as creeds and gave his opinion that his was the 
best. Could he do otherwise and still be a Mussalman ? 
If he thought otherwise, would he not then as an honest 
man be bound to profess the creed he considered better 
than that of Islam ? 

I hope that the heart of every true Hindu will go 
out to Mahomed Ali when in the midst of his domestic 
bereavement and the sickness of his great brother he is 
trying his utmost to heal the breach between the Hindus 
and the Mussalmans. Surely Hindus who strive for unity 
have enough fanaticism within to recognise that 
Mussalman co-workers fare no better. 

The other incident is reported to have occurred in 
the Tibbya College. I asked my son to write to Dr. 
Ansari to let me know what actually did happen. I 
quote his reply in full except six words which give the 
name of the newspaper which has been offending against 
the law of self-restraint and verification. I omit the 
name because the purpose is not to select newspapers 
for criticism but to find a remedy for the disease that 
has become rampant in the Press. Dr. Ansari writes : 

“The incident in the Tibbya College is a very petty one. On the 
-day of the celebration of Mahatmaji’s birthday in the Tibbya College 
one of the speakers compared him to Jesus Christ to which a Muslim 
student took exception and observed that no living - person, however 
eminent in all respects, should be compared to prophets. Some of the 
students protested against the Muslim student’s remark upon which 
the latter tried to explain what he had meant and regretted that he 
was misunderstood. This is the whole story and it rs evidently absurd 
;to suggest that members of the staff were involved in it or that there 
was the slightest likelihood of a breach of peace, 

“ The papers which you mention are extremely partisan ones 
whose characteristic feature it is to purvey news calculated to set 
one community against the other and to present trifling incidents in 



16 


ITATIOITAL UNITY 


a very Itighly exaggei*ated form. It would not have been so very sad 
if these papers alone wore to blame because they are neither impor- 
tant nor well-known. But the misfortune is that the spirit of 
animosity is swaying almost all the vernacular papers — Hindu and 
Muslim — inlN’orthern India. 

“Nor are the incidents referred to by you the only ones in reporting 
which these papers have betrayed such a deplorable and narrow- 
minded bigotry. Blind fanaticism and a reprehensible desire to run 
the other community down by every means has to-day become an 
essential part of the life of a vernacular paper of ITorthern India.” 

The newspaper readers know the exaggerated 
manner in which the incident has been described. The 
Muslim student who took exception to the comparison 
was after all justified in so doing."^ It is not necessary 

*In reply to Mr. Ghanashyam Jethanand, Mahatma Gandhi 
wrote in Young India of 24th April 1924 : If I felt shy or awkward,, 
I might nob have noticed the incident, but I would not even 
out of modesty, false or otherwise, mislead the reader and thus 
deviate from the ethics of journalism which requires a fearless 
expression of true opinion. It will not be denied that to say what 
offends another is against ethics and certainly against spirituality 
if the saying is not required in the interest of truth. I hardly 
think it can be argued that it was in the interest of truth to* 
make the comparison referred to. Whilst I think that such com- 
parisons are undesirable, I admit that to object to them when they 
are actually made may be a mark of intolerance. But the Muslim 
student, knowing how it wounded many Mussalmans, rightly 
objected. He showed his good sense by apologising when his 
objection offended the Hindu student, ^e would but feed the fire of’ 
intolerance if we insist, in the name of freedom of opinion, on 
expressing those opinions which are likely to wound some. I may 
inform Mr. Ghanashyam that shortly before I was in prison a devout. 
Hindu wrote a letter strongly protesting against my being compared 
to Krishna and Rama. I certainly agreed with my correspondent, 
that such comparisons should not be made. I can fully sympathise- 
with orthodox Vaishnavas feeling offended at comparisons which 
outrage their religious sense. What I plead for is extreme andi 
delicate consideration for the feelings and susceptibilities of others.. 



THE STARVING MOPLAH 


17 


for the onrpose of liononring a nian to'compare him with 
any other honoured man much less with revered pro- 
phets. The information Dr. Ansari gives about the 
vernacular press in ISTorthern India is calculated to 
'cause alarm and anxiety. It is to be hoped that the 
papers which make a living out of sensations will put 
patriotism and truth before their pockets. I have heard 
it suggested that Muslim editors say they will cease to 
revile Hindus and Hinduism when the Hindu editors 
leave off reviling Tsl^m and Mussalmahs. Hindu editors 
want to reverse the process. I suggest that both mak^ 
tlie desired improvement simultaneously. 

I do not wisli to suggest that truth should be hushed. 
There has been that kind of indelicate delicacy before 
now. What is necessary however is that whilst truth 
may he fearlessly told, exaggeration and innuendoes 
should be scrupulously avoided. 


list May, 1926. 

THE STARVING MOPLAH 
By M. K. Gandhi 

I gladly print the following from Mr. Yakub 
Hasan : — 

I enclose a copy of the statement I have lately issued^ to the 
Press about Moplah Relief. You will no doubt be grieved to learn 
that thousands of women and children belonging to the Moplahs who 
were killed in the rebellion or were shot or hanged afterwards or are 
undergoing long imprisonment, are almost starving. 


If, in the name of tolerance, we began to swear at one another's 
deities, we would be copying the fabled economist who killed the 
goose that laid the golden eggs. 

% 




18 


NATIONAL UNITY 


Moplahs as a class have always been poor. Most of them were 
cultivating lands under the petty landlords called J enmies, who are 
almost all Hindus, The oppression of the Jenmies is a matter of 
notoriety and a long standing grievance of the Moplahs that has 
nevet been redressed though unsuccessful attempts were made 
several times to ease the situation by means of legislature. The 
rebellion has reduced the poverty-stricken Moplah community to still 
lower depths of destitution. The forcible conversions have placed the 
community in bad odour with the Hindus in general and the Jenmies 
in particular, and the Government has also no love for the people 
who have not long ago fought pitched battles with it. Hindus have 
had their vengeance through the Military who burnt the Moplah 
houses and their Mosques wholesale. Thousands of Moplahs have 
been killed, shot, hanged or imprisoned for life and thousands are 
now languishing in jail.^ Of those who are left behind several 
thousands are paying fines in monthly instalments in lieu of im- 
prisonments for two years. These people are always under the 
thumb of the Police. The few who have escaped death, jail or fine 
are not in any happier condition. They are frightened out of their 
wits and are constantly living in terror. Some of the people I talked 
to in the out-of-way places were trembling with fear in spite of the 
assurance given to them that I was their friend and the object of my 
visit was only to help them if I can. 

This is the general condition of the Moplahs in South Malabar. 
The condition of the women who have lost husbands and fathers by 
death or imprisonment is still worse. Unlike their sisters in other 
parts of India Moplah women do not observe purdah. They are in- 
telligent and industrious and always work with their male relations 
in fields and elsewhere. They are now very much handicapped ; 
for just when the burden of supporting the family is thrown on their 
shoulders and they are called upon by the untoward circumstances 
to be the sole bread earners for their families, they find no work 
that would give them a living wage. Though Moplahs have always 
been poor still there were no beggars among them. But now it is a 
common sight to see Moplah women and children in tatters begging 
in the streets. Among the poor Muslim women who beg in this 
alms-giving month of Ramzan, I find almost half are Moplah 
women in Madras, and I am told this is the case in all large cities in 
this Presidency. 



THE STARVING MOPLAH 19 

As for children their neglected condition can be more imagined 
than described. 

Something has to be done and done immediately if the Moplah 
community is to be saved from moral, even physical destruction. In 
spite of all his faults and shortcomings the Moplah is a fine man. He 
has the bravery, the pluck and the grit of his Arab father, and the 
gentleness and the industry of his Hair mother. His religious zeal 
is more misunderstood than appreciated. He is as a rule peaceful 
but he brooks no affront to his honour or religion. Unfortunate cir- 
cumstances, the causes of v^hich I need not enter into on this occa- 
sion, forced him into the position of a rebel. He has done what any 
one, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, under the same circumstances and 
in the same emergency, would have done in self-defence and self- 
interest. He has suffered the consequences of his deeds. Should 
the society also visit his sins on his wife and children? 

I place this matter before you, Mahatmaji, because you are the 
head of the Indian nation, and both Hindus and Mussalmans jointly 
and severally look upon you as their leader. It is not for me to say 
how this great problem should be tackled. In your wisdom and 
goodness of heart you will, God willing, find ways and means to 
carry life-giving succour to the suffering Moplah women and children. 
Your appeal will make the Hindus forgive and forget and show that 
magnanimity of the heart without which no nation can aspire to be 
great, and your appeal will make Mussalmans realize more fully their 
duty to themselves. I am sure all the leading men irrespective of 
caste or creed or political thought will join hands with you in bring- 
ing this humanitarian cause home to the people at large. 

My appeal must necessarily be to the Hindus.* I 
do not know how far it will be successful in the present 

* In Young India of May 22, 1924, Gandhiji wrote under the 
heading, Pandit Malaviyaji on Moplah Relief : The reader will be glad 
to learn what Pandit Malaviyaji has to say about Moplah relief. 
The following is the translation of what he says in a letter written 
to me in Hindi : — 

“ I agree with every word of what you have written about help- 
ing Moplah women and children. 

Where is the merit in a man who returns good for good? 

The wise call him only good who does good to the evil-doer. 



20 


NATIONAL UNITY 


tension between the two communities. But I must not 
think of the result. I should be guilty of cowardice if I 
did not publish Mr. Ydkub Hasan’s letter which com- 
mands my sympathy. I know that the Hindus teei sore 
over what the Moplahs in 1921 did to tlieir Hindu neigh- 
bours in Malabar. I know that thousands of Hindus 
think that the Moplah atrocities were not as strongly 
condemned by the general body of the Mussalmans as 
they might have been. I know that many will (as I do) 
take exception to Mr. Yakub Hasan’s sweeping asser- 
tion that ‘he’ (Moplah) has done what any one, Hindu,. 
Muslim or Clv'istian under the same circumstances and 
in the same emergency would have done in self-defence- 
or self-interest. ' No circumstance and no provocation 
however grave, could possibly justify forcible conver- 
sions. I should hope that Mr. Yakub Hasan has not 
meant to include these among the pardonable acts of the 
Moplahs. 

But even assuming tlie truth of the worst that the 
Hindus may have to say against the Moplahs and the 
contemporaneous or subsequent conduct of the rest of 
the Indian Mussalmans, I have no doubt that if the 

They alone are good who do good to those that do harm to them? 

And these good souls adorn the earth ; for it is the better for 
their birth. 

“ Please do not infer from the verse quoted by me that in my 
opinion all Moplahs have injured Hindus. But even assuming that- 
all the Moplahs have done us an injury, even then must wo servo 
them in the hour of their need. In such conduct lies the beauty of 
our religion. 

‘Let Love conquer hate. 

Let the good conquer the evil-doers. 

Let a generous heart conquer avarice. 

Let Truth conquer falsehood. ” 



HTNDU-MUSLIM TENSION 


2L 


Hindus allawed.tbeit* prejudices to interfere with their 
■charity towards their countrymen and countrywomen, 
the starving'Moplahs, it would be counted as a sin be- 
fore the Judgment Seat. "We may not remember against 
posterity the sins of its forefathers. The Mopiahs 
i?in ned against God and have suffered grievouslv for it. 
Let the Hindus also remember that they have not 
allowed the opportunity of revenge t{) pass by. Many 
have done all they could to take reprisals when they 
got the opportunity. 

My point is simple. In face of the awful fact of 
starvation and homelessness all argument and all 
opposition must be hushed. Generations hence, when all 
our evil acts will have been forgotten, posterity will 
cherish the ti'easured memory of every simple act of 
love bhown by the one to the other. T, therefore, ask 
every Hindu reader who will extend the hand of h've 
and fellowship to starving Moplah brothers and sisters 
and their children, to send his or her mite and 1 shall 
endeavour to see that it is properly distributed among 
the most deserving among the Mopiahs. 


29th May, 1924, 

HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION : 

ITS CAUSE and CUEE 

By M, K. Gandhi 

Hindu Indictuie}it 

Pundit Banarsldas Chaturvedi brought a message 
from a Hindu residing in Tanganaika to the following 
effect; “Tetf Gandhi he is responsible for the Muslim- 
atrocities in Multan. ” I did not print the message be 



22 


NATIOITAL UNITY 


fore, as I was not ready to write then upon the question 
of questions. But many letters have since been received 
by me, some from well-known friends, telling me that 
I was responsible even for the alleged Moplah atrocities, 
in fact for all the riots in which Hindus have or are said 
to have suffered since the Khilafat agitation. The argu- 
ment is somewhat this : ‘ You asked the Hindus to 
make common cause with the Mussalmans in the 
Khilafat question. Your being identified with it gave 
it an importance it wmuld never have otherwise received* 
It unified and awakened the Mussulmans. It gave a 
prestige to the Maulvis which they never had before. 
And now that the Khilafat question is over, the awaken- 
ed Mussalmans have- proclaimed a kind of Jehad against 
us Hindus. ’ I have given the purport oF the charge in 
readable language. Some letters contain unprintable 
abuse. 

So much for the Hindu part of the indictment 
against me. 

Mussalvian Indictment 

A Mussalman friend says : 

“The Moslem community being a very simple and religious 
community were led to believe that the Khilafat was in danger and 
that it could be saved by the united voice of Hindus and Mahomedans; 
these innocent people believing your very eloquent words showed 
great enthusiasm with the result that they were the first to boycott 
schools, law-courts, Council, etc. The most famous institution of 
Aligarh^ which Sir Syed had built by the labour of his life-time, and 
which was justly the first institution of its kind, was utterly spoilt. 
I shall be very much obliged, if you will kindly point out that the 
Hindu community had a similar institution, and it met with the 
same fate. I know of scores of boys who could have taken the Uni- 
versity degree with credit to themselves and the community to which 
they belonged, but they were induced to leave studies on religious 
grounds, with the result that they were utterly ruined.. On the con- 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSIOIT 


23 


trary very few Hindu boys left, and those who did so for the time 
being instantly joined, as soon as they found that the movement was 
tottering to pieces. Similar was the case with lawyer. In those days, 
you brought about a sort of unity between the two communities and 
advertised it far and near that it was a solid one. The simple-mind- 
ed Mahomedans again believed it with the result that they were 
brutally treated at Ajmere, Lucknow, Meerut, Agra, Saharanpur, 
Lahore and other places. Mr. Mahomed Ali, who was a born journa- 
list of a very high type, and whose wonderful paper, “ The Comrade” 
was doing such solid work for the Muslim community, was won over 
to your side, and he is now a loss to the community. Your Hindu 
leaders in the guise of Shuddhi and Sangathan are trying to weaken 
the Muslim community. Your short-sighted decision to prevent 
people from entering the Councils has acted most unfairly on this 
community as the majority of able men refrained from entering the 
Councils because of the so-called fatwa. Under the circumstances,, 
do you not honestly think that you are doing a great harm to this 
community by keeping the Mahomedans, a few of them of course, 
still in your camp.” 

I have not given the whole of the letter. But. the 
extract represents the gist of the Muslim indictment 
against me. 

Not Guilty 

I must plead not guilty to both the charges, and add 
that I am totally unrepentant. Had I been a prophet 
and foreseen all that has happened, I should have still 
thrown myself into the Khilafat agitation. In spite of 
the present strained relations between the two commu- 
nities, both have gained. The awakening among the 
masses was a necessary part of the training. It is itself 
a tremendous gain. I would do nothing to put the 
people to sleep again. Our wisdom consists now in 
directing the awakening in the proper channel. What 
we see before us is sad but not disheartening, if we have 
faith in ourselves. The storm is but the forerunner of 



NATIONAL UNITY 


24 

the ooming calm that comes from a consciousness of 
strength, not from the stupor of exhaustion and 
disappointment. 

The public will not expect me to give judgment 
upon the riots in the different places. I have no desire 
for giving judgments. And even if I had, I have not 
the facts before me. 

Moplahs 

1 will say a word as to the causes.'*’ 

* In Young India of June 5, 1924, Gandhiji thus summarises his 
article on the cause and cure of Hindu Muslim Tension : 

Let me summarise the long statement issued last week on this 
the greatest of all questions for the Indian patriot. The posterity 
will judge both the faiths by the manner in which the followers of 
each acquit themselves in the matter. However good Hinduism or 
Islam may be in the abstract, the only way each can be judged is by 
the ejBfeot produced by each on its votaries considered a whole. 

The following then is the summary of the statement. 

Causes 

1. The remote cause of the tension is the Moplah rebellion. 

2. The attempt of Mr. Fazl Hussain to rearrange the distribution 
of posts in the education department consistently with the number of 
Mussaimans in the Punjab and consequent Hindu opposition. 

3. The Shuddhi movement. 

4. The most potent being tiredness of non-violence and the fear 
that the communities might by a long course of training in non- 
violence forget the law of retaliation and self-defence. 

5. Mussalman cow-slaughter and Hindu music. 

3. Hindu cowardice and consequent Hindu distrust of 
Mussaimans. 

7. Mussalman bullying, 

8. Mussalman distrust of Hindu fairplay. 

Cube, 

1. The master-key to the solution is the replacement of the rule 
of the sword by that of arbitration. 

Honest public opinion should make it impossible for aggrieved 
parties to take the law into their own hands and every case must be 



HINDlT-MUSLlfl TENSION 


25 


The Malabar happenings undoubtedly disquieted the 
.Hindu mind. What the crutli is, no one knows. The 
Hindus say that Lhe Moplab atrociLies were indescrib- 
able. Dr. Mahmud tells me that these have been grossly 
exaggerated, that the Moplahs too had a grievance 


referred to private arbitration or to law-courts if the parties do not 
believe in non-co-operation. 

2. Ignorant fear of cowardly non-violence, falsely so called, 
taking the place of violence should be dispelled. 

3. Growing mutual distrust among the leaders must, if they 
helieve in unity, give place ivo trust. 

4. Hindus must cease to fear the Mussalman bully and the 
Mussalmans should consider it beneath their dignity to bulls'- their 
Hindu brothers. 

5. Hindus must not imagine they can force Mussalmans to give 
up cow sacrifice. They must trust, by befriending Mussalmans, that 
the latter will, of their own accord, give up cow sacrifice out of regard 
for their Hindu neighbours. 

6. Nor must Mussalmans imagine they can force Hindus to stop 
music or arati before mosques. They must befriend the Hindus and 
trust them to pay heed to reasonable Mussalman sentiment. 

7. Hindus must leave to the Mussalmans and the other minorities 
the question of representation on elected bodies, and gracefully and 
whole-heartedly give effect to the findings of such referee. If I 
had my way I should appoint Hakim Saheb Ajmalkhan as the sole 
referee leaving him free to consult Mussalmans, Sikhs, Christians, 
Parsis etc. as he considers best. 

8. Employment under national government must be according 
to merit to be decided by a board of examiners representing different 
communities, 

9. Shuddhi or Tabiigh as such cannot be disturbed but either 
must be conducted honestly and by men of proved character. It 
should avoid all attack on other religions. There should be no secret 
propaganda and no offer of material rewards. 

10. Public opinion should be so cultivated as to put under 
ban all the scurrilous writings principally in a section of the Punjab, 
Press. 



26 


NATIOITAL UNITY 


against the Hindus, and that he could find no cases of 
forcible conversions. The one case that was reported to* 
him was at least ‘ non-proven. ’ In his findings, Dr. 
Mahmud says, he is supported by Hindu testimony. I 


11. Nothing is possible without the Hindus shedding their* 
timidity. Theirs is the largest stake and they must be prepared to* 
sacrifice the most. 

But how is the cure to be effected ? Who will convince the Hindu 
maniac that the best way to save the cow is for him to do his duty 
by her and not goad his JVfussalman brother ? Who will convince the 
Mussalman fanatic that it is not religion but irreligion to break the 
head of his Hindu brother when he plays music in front of his mosque.. 
Or again who will make the Hindu see that he will lose nothing by 
the minorities being even over-represented on the elective public 
secular bodies ? These are fair questions and show the diificulty of 
working out the solution. 

But if the solution is the only true solution, all difficulties must- 
be overcome. In reality the difficulty is only apparent. If there are 
even a few Hindus and a few Mussalmans who have a living faith in 
the solution, the rest is easy. Indeed, even if there are a few Hindus, 
only, or a few Mussalmans only with that faith, the solution would 
be still easy. They have but to work away single-heartedly and the 
others will follow them. And the conversion of only one party is 
enough because the solution requires no bargains. For instance,. 
Hindus should cease to worry Mussalmans about the cow without, 
expecting any consideration from the latter. They should yield to- 
the Mussalman demand whatever it may be regarding representation 
again without requiring any return. And if the Mussalmans insist 
on stopping Hindu music or arati by force, the Hindus will continue 
playing it although every single Hindu should die at his post but with- 
out retaliation. The Mussalmans will then be shamed into doing the 
right thing in an incredibly short space of time. Mussalmans can do 
likewise, if they choose, and shame the Hindus into doing the right, 
thing. One has to dare to believe. 

But in practice it will not be thus ; on th’e contrary both will act 
simultaneously as soon as the workers become true to themselves. 
Unfortunately they are not. They are mostly ruled by passion and 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 27 

merely mention the two versions to ask the public to- 
co-nclude with me that it is impossible to arrive at the- 
exact truth, and that it is unnecessary for the purpose 
of regulating our future conduct. 

Multan etc. 

In Multan, Saharanpur, Agra, Ajmere etc. it is 
agreed that the Hindus suffered most. In Palwal it is 
stated that Hindus have prevented Mussalmans from 
turning a kachcha mosque into a pukka one. They are 
said to have pulled down part of the pukka wall, driven 
the Muslims out of the village, and stated that the 
Muslims could not live in the village unless they pro- 
mised not to build any mosque and say azan. This 
state of things is said to have continued for over a year. 
The driven Mussalmans are said to be living in 
temporary huts near Rohtak. 

In Byade in Dharwar district, my informant tells 
me, on Muslims objecting to music being played before 
their mosque, the Hindus desecrated the mosque, beat 
the Mussalmans, and then got them persecuted. 

Here again I cite these two instances, not as proved 
facts, but to show that the Mussalmans too claim to have 
much to complain of against Hindus. 

And it can certainly be fairly added that where they 


prejudice. Each tries to hide the shortcomings of his co-religionists 
and so the circle of distrust and suspicion ever widens. 

I hope that at the forthcoming meeting of the All India Congress 
Committee, it will he possible to find out a method of work which 
will bring a speedy end to the tension. 

It has been suggested to me that the Government are fomenting 
these dissensions. I should hope not. But assuming that they are, 
surely, it is up to us to neutralise such efforts by ourselves acting truly 
and faithfully. 



^28 NATIQNAL UNITY 

were manifes,tly weak and Hindus strong as in Katarpiir 
and Ar rah years ago theyf were mercilessly treated by 
their Hindu neighbours.- Tl^e fact is that when blood 
boils, prejudice reigns supreme ; man, whether he labels 
himself Hindu, Mussalman, Christian or what not, be- 
comes a beast and acts as such. 

The Seat of the Trouble 

The seat of the trouble, however, is in the Punjab. 
The Miissalinans complain that the Hindus have raised 
a storm of protest on Mr. Pazl Hussain trying very 
timidly to give a fair proportion of Government employ- 
ment to Mussalmans. The letter, from which I have 
already, quoted complains bitterly tliat wherever a 
Hindu has been the head of a department, he has care- 
fully excluded Mussalmans from Government posts. 

The causes for the tension are thus more than 
merely religious. The charges I have quoted are indi- 
vidual. ' But the mass mind is areflectiou of individual 
opinion*: 

Tired of ^Non-cioience 

I'he immediate cause is the most dangerous. The 
thinking portion seems to be tired of non-violence. It 
has not as yet understood my suspension of Satyagraba 
after Ahnaedabad and Viramgam tragedies, tlieu after 
the Bombay rowdyism, and lastly after the Chanri- 
Chaura outrage. The last was tlie, last st raw. The 
thinking men imagined that all hope of Satyagraba and 
therefore of Swaraj too in the near future, was at an 
end. Their faith in non-violence was skin-deep. Two 
years ago a Mussalinan friend said to me in all sincerity, 
** I do not believe your, non-violence. At least I would 
not have my Mussalmans to learn it. Violence is the 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSIONT 


29 ’ 


law of life. I would not have Swaraj by non-violence 
as you 'define the latter. I mustdiate my enemy.” This 
friend is an honest nVan. I entertain great regard for 
him. ' Much' the same has Been reported of another very 
great Mussalman friend of mine. The report may be- 
untrue, but the reporter himself is not an untrue inan. 

Hindn Repugnance 

Nor is this repugnance to non-violence confined tO' 
Mussalmans. Hindu friends have said the same tiling, 
if possible with greater vehemence. My claim to* 
Hinduism ha^ been rejected by some, because I believe 
and advocate non-violence in its extreme form. They 
say that I am a Christian in disguise. I have been' even 
seriously told that I am distorting tliQ meaning of the* 
Gita, when I ascribe to that great poem the teaching of 
unadulterated non-violence. Some of my Hindu friends 
tell me that killing is a duty enjoined by the Gita under 
certain circumstances. A very learned Shastid only the 
other day scornfully rejected my interpretation of the 
Gita and said that there was ho warrant for the opinion 
held by some commentators that the Gita represented' 
the eternal duel between forces of evil and good, and 
inculcated the duty of eradicating evil within us with- 
out hesitation, without tenderness. 

I state these opinions against non-violence in detsiil,.. 
because it is necessary to understand them, if we would 
understand the Solution I have to offer. 

What I see around me today is, therefore, a reaction 
against the spread of non-violence. I feel the wave of 
violence coming. The Hindu-Muslim ttension is an 
acute phase! of this tiredness. 

I must be dismissed out of considersttioii. My ’ 



30 


NATIONAL UNITY 


religion is a matter solely between my maker, and 
myself. If I am a Hindu, I cannot cease to be one even 
though I may be disowned by the whole of the Hindu 
population. I do, however, suggest that non-violence is 
’the end of all religions. 

Limited Non-violence 

But I have never presented to India that extreme 
■form of non-violence, if only because I do not regard 
myself fit enough to redeliver that ancient message. 
'Though my intellect has fully understood and grasped 
it, it has not as yet become part of my whole being. My 
•.strength lies in my asking people to do nothing that I 
have not tried repeatedly in my own life. I am then 
asking my countrymen to-day to adopt non-violence as 
their final creed, only for the purpose of regulating the 
relations between the different races, and for the purpose 
of attaining Swaraj. Hindus and Mussalmans, Chris- 
-tians, Sikhs and Parsis must not settle their differences 
by resort to violence, and the means far the attainment 
of Swaraj must be non-violent. This I venture to place 
before India, not as a weapon of the weak, but of the 
•strong. Hindus and Mussalmans prate about no com- 
pulsion in religion. What is- it but compulsion, if 
Hindus will kill a Mussalman for saving a cow ? It is 
like wanting to convert a Mussalman to Hinduism by 
force. And similarly what is it but compulsion, if 
‘Mussalmans seek to prevent by force Hindus from 
playing music before mosques ? Virtue lies in being 
^.bsorbed in one’s prayers in the presence of din and 
noise. We shall both be voted irreligious savages by 
posterity if we continue to make a futile attempt to 
-eornpel one another to respect our religious wishes. 



HINDU-MUSLIM TEITSION 


31 


Again, a nation of three hundred million people should 
be ashamed to have to resort to force to bring to book 
one hundred thousand Englishmen. To convert them, 
or, if you will, even to drive them out of the country, we 
need, not force of arms, but force of will. If we have 
not the latter, we shall never get the former. If we 
develop the force of will, we shall find that we do not 
need the force of arms. 

Acceptance of non-violence, therefore, for the pur- 
poses mentioned by me, is the most natural and the 
most necessary condition of our national existence. It 
will teach us to husband our corporate physical strength 
for a better purpose, instead of dissipating it, as now, in 
a useless fratricidal strife, in which each party is 
exhausted after the effort. And every armed rebellion 
must be an insane act unless it is backed by the nation. 
But almost any item of non-cooperation fully backed by 
the nation can achieve the aim without shedding a 
single drop of blood. 

I do not say ' eschew violence in your dealing with 
robbers or thieves or with nations that may invade 
India. ’ But in order that we are better able to do so, 
we must learn to restrain ourselves. It is a sign not of 
strength but of weakness to take up the pistol on the 
slightest pretext. Mutual fisticuffs are a training not 
in violence but in emasculation. My method of non- 
violence can never lead to loss of strength, but it alone 
will make it possible, if the nation wills it, to offer 
disciplined and concerted violence in time of danger. 

Not Truly Non-violent 

If those who believe that we were becoming supine 
and inert because of the training in non-violence, will 



32 


NATIONAL UNITY 


but reflect a little, they will discover that we have never 
been non-vioienfc in the only sense in which the word 
must be understood. Whilst we have refrained from 
causing actual pliysieal hurt, we have harboured 
violence in onr breasr. If we had honestly regulated 
our thought and speech in the strictest harmonjT- with 
onr outward act, we vvould never have experienced the- 
fatigue we are doing. Rad v^e been true to ourseives/ 
we v/onld have hy this time evolved matchless strength 
of purpose and will. 

I have dwelt at length upon tlie mistaken view of 
non-violence, because I am sure that if we can but 
revert to onr faith, if we ever bad any, in non-violence 
limited only to the two purposes above referred to, the 
present tension between the two communities will 
largely subside. For, in my opinion, an attitude of 
non-violence in our mutual relations is an indispensable 
condition prior to a discussion of the remedies for the 
removal of the tension. It must be common cause 
between the two communities tiiat neither party shall 
take the law into its own hands, but that all points in 
dispute, wherever and wlienever they arise, shall be 
decided by reference either to private arbitration, or to- 
the law^ courts if they wish. This is the whole meaning: 
of non-violence, so far as communal niatters are 
cdacerned. To put it another v/ay, just as we do not 
break one another’s heads in respect of civil matters, so 
rnay we not do even in respect of religious matters. 
This is the only pnct that is immediately necessary 
between the parties, and I am sure that everything else 
will follow. 

The Bully and the Coword 

Unless this elementary condition is recognised, we 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 


33 


have BO atmosphere for considering the ways and means 
of removing misunderstanding and arriving at an 
honoui*able, lasting settlement. But, assuming that the 
acceptance of the elementary condition will be common 
cause between the two communities, let us consider the 
constant disturbing factors. There is no doubt in my 
mind that in the majority of quarrels the Hindus come 
out second best. But my own experience confirms the 
opinion that the Mussalman as a rule is a bully, and 
the Hindu ajs a rule is a coward.*^ I have noticed this in 
railway trains, on public roads, and in the quarrels 

Replying to Babu Bhagwan Das in Young India of J une 19th 
1924, who took exception to such statements as that the Hindus, 
were cowards and Muslims the bullies and who suggested that the 
cause should be traced to the decadent Hindu leader^s clinging to- 
untouchablity and so on, Gandhiji wrote under the heading, “ What 
may Hindus do ” ? 

Regarding the first two questions the writer has answered them, 
himself. In my opinion, they are only partly true. Though the 
majority of the Mussalmans of India and the Hindus belong to the 
same ‘ stock the religious environment has made them different. I 
believe and I have noticed too that thought transforms man’s features 
as well as character. The Sikhs are the most recent illustration of 
the fact. The Mussalman being generally in a minority has as a 
class developed into a bully. Moreover being heir to fresh traditions 
he exhibits the virility of a comparatively new system of life. Though 
in my opinion non-violence has a predominant place in the Koran, the 
thirteen hundred years of imperialistic expansion has made the 
Mussalmans fighters as a body. They are therefore aggressive. 
Bullying is the natural excrescence of an aggressive spirit. The 
Hindu has an age old civilisation. He is essentially non-voilent. 
His civilisation has passed through the experiences that the two- 
recent ones are still passing through. If Hinduism was ever 
imperialistic in the modern sense of the term, it has outlived its- 
imperialism and has either deliberately or as a matter of course given 
it up. Predominance of the non-violenfc spirit has restricted the use 
of arms to a small minority, which must always be subordinate to a 
3 



34 


NATIONAL UNITY 


which I had the privilege of settling. Need the Hindu 
blame the Mussalman for his cowardice ? Where there 
are cowards, there will always be bullies. They say that 
in Saharanpur the Mussalmans looted houses, broke 


civil power highly spiritual, learned and selfless. The Hindus as a 
body are therefore not equipped for fighting. But not having retained 
their spiritual training, they have forgotten the use of an effective 
substitute for arms and not knowing their use nor having an aptitude 
for them, they have become docile to the point of timidity or 
cowardice. This vice is therefore a natural excrescence of gentleness. 
Holding this view, I do not think that the Hindu exclusiveness, bad 
as it undoubtedly is, has much to do with the Hindu timidity. Hence 
also my disbelief in Akhadas as a means of self-defence. I prize them 
for physical culture but, for self-defence I would restore the spiritual 
culture. The best and most lasting self-defence is self-purification, 
I refuse to be lifted off my feet because of the scares that haunt us 
fo-day. If Hindus would but believe in themselves and work in 
accordance with their traditions, they will have no reason to fear 
bullying. The moment they recommence the real spiritual training 
-the Mussalman will respond. He cannot heJJ) it. If I can get 
together a band of young Hindus with faith in themselves and there- 
fore faith in the Mussalmans, the band will become a shield for the 
weaker ones. They (the young Hindus) will teach how to die with- 
out killing. I know no other way. ^hen our ancestor's saw affliction 
surrounding them, they went in for tapasya purification. They 
realised the helplessness of the flesh and in their helplessnes they 
prayed till they compelled the Maker to obey their call. ‘ Oh yes, ’ 
sayS my Hindu friend, ‘ but then God sent some one to wield arms 
I am not concerned with denying the truth of the retort. All I say 
-to the friend is that as a Hindu he may not ignore the cause and 
secure the result. It will be time to fight, when we have done enough 
tapasya. Are we purified enough I ask? Have we even done willing 
penance for the sin of untouchability, let alone the personal purity of 
individuals? Are our religious preceptors all that they should be? 
"We are beating the air whilst we simply concentrate our attention 
upon picking holes in the Mussalmam conduct. As with the English- 
man, so with the Mussalman. If our professions are true, we should 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 


35 


opea safes and in one case a Hindu woman’s modesty 
was outraged. Whose fault was this ? Mussalnians can 
offer no defence for the execrable conduct, it is true. 
But I as a Hindu am more ashamed of Hindu cowardice 


find it infinitely less difficult to conquer the Mussalman than the 
English. But Hindus whisper to me that they have hope of the 
Englishman but none of the Mussalman. 1 say to them, ‘if you have 
no hope of the Mussalman, your hope of the Englishman is foredoomed 
to failure. ' 

The other questions can be briefly answered. The Goondas came 
on the scene because the leaders wanted them. The leaders 
distrusted one another. Distrust never comes from well-defined causes. 
A variety of causes, more felt than realised, breeds distrust. We 
have not yet visualised the fact that our interests are identical. 
Each party seems vaguely to believe that it can displace the other 
by some kind of manoeuvering. But I freely confess as suggested by 
Babu Bhagwandas that our not knowing the kind of Swaraj we want 
has also a great deal to do with the distrust. I used not to think so, 
but he had almost converted me before I became Sir George Lloyd’s 
guest at the Yeravada Central Prison. I am a confirmed convert. 

The ‘ points of contact’ referred to by me is a phrase intended to 
oover all social, religious and political relations alike as between 
individuals and masses. Thus, for instance instead of accentuating 
the differences in religion, I should set about discovering the good 
points common to both. I would bridge the social distance wherever 
I can do so consistently with my religious belief. I would go out of 
my way to seek common ground on the political field. 

As for the referee, I have named Hakim Saheb’s name undoubtedly 
for the universal respect that it carries with it. But I would not 
hesitate to put the pen even in the hands of a Mussalman who may be 
known for his prejudices and fanaticism. For as a Hindu, I should 
know that I have nothing to lose even if the referee gave the 
Mussalmans a majority of seats in every province. There is no 
principle at stake in giving or having seats in elective bodies. 
Moreover experience has taught me to know that undivided 
responsibility immediately puts a man on his mettle and his pride or 
God-fearingness sobers him. 



36 


NATIONAL UNITY 


than I am angry at the Mussalman bullying. Why did 
not the owners of the houses looted die in the attempt 
to defend their possessions? Where were the relatives 
of the outraged sister at the time of the outrage ? Have 
they no account to render of themselves? My non- 
violence does not admit of running away from danger 
and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence 
and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to* 
cowardice. I can no more preach non-violence to a. 
coward than 1 can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy 
scenes. Non-violence is the summit of bravery. And 
in my own experience, I have had no difficulty in 
demonstrating to men trained in the school of violence 
the superiority of non-violence. Asa coward,^ which I 
was for years, I harboured violence. I began to prize 
non-violence only when I began to shed cowardicor 
Those Hindus who ran away from the post of duty when 
it was attended with danger did so not because they 
were non-violent, or because they were afraid to strike,, 
but because they were unwilling to die or even suffer 
any injury. A rabbit that runs away from the bull 
terrier is not particularly non-violent. The poor thing, 
trembles at the sight of the terrier and runs for very 
life. Those Hindus who ran away to save their lives* 
would have been truly non-violent and would have 
covered themselves with glory and added lustre to their 
faith and won the friendsnip of their Mussalman 
assailants, if they had stood bare breast witli smiles on 
their lips, and died at their post. They would have done 
less well though still well, if they had stood at their 

Lastly, no proclamation that we should unite or any such 
thing will avail unless some of us began to act up to the proclamation* 
even though we may be the fewest possible. 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSIOiST 37 

post and returned blow. If the Hindus wish to convert 
the Mussalman bully into a respecting friend, they have 
to learn to die in the face of the heaviest odds. 

The Way 

The way, however, does not lie through Akhadas ; 
not that I mind them. On the contrary, I want them 
for physical culture. Then they should be for all. But, 
if they are meant as a preparation for self-defence in 
the Hindu-Mussalman conflicts, they are foredoomed to 
failure. Mussalmans can play the same game and such 
preparations secret or open do but cause suspicion and 
irritation. 'L'hey can provide no present remedy. It is 
for the thoughtful few to make quarrels impossible by 
making arbitration popular and obligatory. 

The remedy against cowardice is not physical 
culture but the braving of dangers. So long as parents 
of the middle class Hindus, themselt'es timid, continue 
to transmit their timidity by keeping their grown-up 
children in cotton wool, so long will there be the desire 
to shun danger and run no risks. They will have to dare 
to leave their children alone, let them run risks and 
even at times get killed in so doing. The puniest in- 
dividual may have a stout heart. The most muscular 
Zulus cower before English lads. Each village has to 
find out its stout hearts. 

The Goondas 

It is a mistake to blame the goondas. They never do 
mischief unless we create an atmosphere for them. I 
was eye witness to what happened in Bombay on the 
Prince’s day in 1921. We sowed the seed and the goondas 
reaped the harvest. Our men were at their back. I 
have no hesitation in holding the respQptable Mussal- 



38 


NATIONAL UNITY 


mans (nob all in any single case) responsible for the 
misdeeds in Multan, Saharanpur and elsewhere, as I 
have done in holding respectable Hindus responsible 
for the misdeeds in Katarpur and Arrah. If it is true 
that at Palwal we have prevented the erection of a 
pukka mosque in the place of a kachcha one, it is not the 
goondas who are doing it, it is the respectable Hindus 
who must be held accountable. We must resolutely 
discountenance the practice of absolving the respectable 
class from blame. 

Therefore, I hold that Hindus will commit a grave 
blunder, if they organise Hindu goondas for defence. 
From the frying pan they will jump into fire. The Bania 
and the Brahmin must learn to defend himself even 
violently, if not non-violently, or surrender his women- 
folk and possessions to the goondas. They are a class 
apart, whether they are labelled Mussalmanor Hindu. It 
was said with gusto that protected by untouchables (for 
they feared not death) a Hindu procession (playing 
triumphant music) quite recently passed a mosque 
unhurt. 

It is a very mundane use to make of a sacred cause. 
Such exploitation of our untouchable brothers can 
neither serve Hinduism in general nor the suppressed 
classes in particular. A few processions so doubtfully 
protected may pass a few mosques safely. But it can 
only aggravate the growing tension, and degrade 
Hinduism. The middle class people must be prepared 
for a beating, if they wish to play music in the teeth of 
opposition, or they must befriend Mussalmans in a self- 
respecting manner. 

The Hindus have to do penance for the past and still 
continuing di^bilities imposed by them upon the 



HINDU^MUSLIM TENSION 39 

suppressed brothers. There can be no question there- 
fore of expecting any return from them for a debt we 
owe them. If we use them to cover our cowardice, we 
shall raise in them false hopes we shall never be able to 
fulfil and if the retribution comes, it will be a just 
punishment for our inhuman treatment of them. If I 
have any influence with Hindus, I would beseech them 
not to use them as a shield against anticipated Mussul- 
man attack. 

GroiUng distrust 

Another potent cause of the tension is the growing 
distrust even among the best of us. I have been warned 
against Pundit Madan Mohan Malaviyaji, He is 
suspected of secret motives. It is said that he is no 
friend of the Mussalmans. He is even credited with 
being jealous of my influence. I have the privilege of 
knowing him intimately ever since my return to India 
ill 1915, I have had the privilege of closest communion 
with him. I regard him as one of the best among 
Hindus, who though orthodox holds most liberal views. 
He is no enemy of Mussalmans. He is incapable of 
jealousy of any one. He has a heart large enough to 
accomodate even his enemies. He has never aimed at 
power. And what he has, is due to a long period of un- 
broken service of the motherland, such as very few of 
us can boast. He and I are temperamentally different 
but love each other like brothers. There never has been 
even so much as a jar between us. Our ways being 
different, there can be no question of rivalry and there- 
fore jealousy either. 

Another one distrusted is JLala Lajpatrai. I have 
found him to be frank as a child. His record of sacrifice 



40 


NATIONAL UNITY 


is almost unequalled. I have had not one but many 
a chat on the Hindu-Muslim question with him. He is 
no enemy of the Mussalman. But I confess that he 
has his doubts about the immediate attainment of unity. 
He is seeking light from on High. He believes in that 
unity in spite of himself because, as he told me, he 
believes in Swaraj. He recognises that without that 
.unity there can be no Swaraj. He only does not know 
hbw and when it can be attained. He likes my solution 
but he doubts if the Hindus will understand and 
appreciate its nobility (as he calls it). Let me say in 
passing I do not call my solution noble. I hold it to be 
strictly just and the only feasible solution. 

Swami Shraddhanancfji also is distrusted. His 
speeches are, I know, often irritating. But even he wants 
Hindu-Muslim unity. Unfortunately he believes in the 
possibility of bringing every Muslim into the Aryan 
fold, just as perhaps most Mussalmans think that every 
non-Muslim will some day become a convert to Islam. 
Shraddhanandji is intrepid and brave. Single-handed 
he turned a wilderness into a magnificent boarding 
college on the banks of the sacred Ganges. He has 
faith in himself and his mission. But he is hasty and 
easily ruffled. He inherits the traditions of the Arya' 
Samaj. Ihave profound respect for Dayan and Saras wati. 
I think that lie has rendered great service to Hinduism. 
His bravery was unquestioned. But he made his 
Hinduism narrow. I have read Satyarfcha Prakash 
. the Arya Samaj Bible. Friends sent me three copies of 
it whilst I was resting in the Yerawada Jail. I have 
not read a more disappointing book from a reformer so 
great. He has claimed to stand for truth and nothing 
less. Bub he has unconsciously misrepresented Jainism, 



HIInDU-x\IUSLTM te^tsion 


41 


Islam, Christianity and Hinduism itself. One having 
even a cursory acquaintance with these faiths could 
•easily discover the errors into which the great reformer 
was betrayed. He has tried to make narrow one of the 
most tolerant and liberal of the faiths on the face of the 
earth. And an iconoclast though he was, he has 
succeeded in enthroning idolatry in the subtlest form. 
For he has idolised the letter of the Vedas and tried to 
prove the existence in the Vedas of everything known 
to science. The Arya Samaj flourishes in ray humble 
opiniorf^not because of the inherent merit of the teach- 
ings of Satyartha Prakash but because of the grand and 
lofty character of the founder. Wherever you find 
Arya-Samajists, there is life and energy. But having 
the narrow outlook and a pugnacious habit they either 
■quarrel with people of other denominations and failing 
them with one another. Shraddhanandji has a fair 
share of that spirit. But, in spite of all these drawbacks, 
I do not regard him as past praying for. It is possible 
that this sketch of the Arya Samaj and the Swamji will 
.anger them.* Needless to say, I mean no offence. I 

* As Gandhiji foresaw, his reference to the Arya Samajists did 
.anger the Samajists. It provoked a storm of protest from the Arya 
.Samajists all over the country. In refusing to retract what he wrote, 
Mahatma Gandhi observed in Young India of June 12, 1924, in the 
course of a leading article under the heading The “Arya Samajists ” : 

Those who have attributed my statement to my ignorance have 
'done so probably to leave me an open door for a safe retreat. Unfortu- 
nately for me, I have left no such chance for myself. I cannot plead 
ignorance of the ‘Satyartha Prakash’ or the general teachings of the 
Arya Samaj. I cannot even say that I might have been prejudiced 
against the Arya Samaj. On the contrary, I approached it with the 
greatest veneration. I had, as T still have, profound regard for the 
personal character of* Bishi Dayanand. His hrahmacharya was an 



42 


NATIONAL UNITY 


love the Samajists for I have many co-workers from 
among them. And I learnt to love the Swamiji, even 
while I was in South Africa. And though I know him 
better now, I love him no less. It is my love that has 
spoken. 

object of emulation for me. His fearlessness commanded my admira- 
tion. And my provincialism, if I have any in me, was flattered by 
the fact of the Rishi being of the same little Kathiawad as myself. 
But I could not help myself. The conclusion I came to was in spite 
of myself, and I published it only when its publication became 
relevant. Its suppression would have been a cowardly om^sion on 
my part. Instead of becoming enraged against me for an honest 
expression of opinion. I appeal to them to take my criticism in good 
part, examine it, try to convince me and pray for me if I cannot be 
convinced. Two letters have challenged me to substantiate my 
conclusion. It as a fair challenge and I hope before long to produce 
from the Satyarth Prakash passages in its support. My friends will 
not engage me in a religious discussion with them. I shall content' 
myself with giving them the grounds of my 'opinion. So far as 
Swami Shraddhanandji is concerned there is no question of sub- 
stantiating my opinion. My critics will oblige me by leaving him and 
me to ourselves. In spite of my opinion I shall not quarrel with the 
Swamiji. Mine is the criticism of a friend. As for Shuddhi the 
critics in their blind fury have forgotten the qualification ‘ as it is. 
understood in Christianity or to a lesser extent in Islam.’ This is- 
quite different from saying that there is no proselytism in Hinduism. 
Hinduism has a way all its own of Shuddhi. But if the Arya 
Samajists differ from me they may still allow me to retain my 
opinion. If they will reread the statement, they will discover that- 
I have said that they have a perfect right to carry on their movement 
if they like. Toleration is not a coinciding of views. There should 
be toleration of one another’s views though they may be as poles 
asunder. Lastly I have not said that Arya Samajists or Mussalmans- 
do kidnap women. I have said ‘ I am told ’. By repeating what I was 
told, I have given both the parties an opportunity of repudiating the 
charge. Was it not better that I should publish what was being said,, 
so that the atmosphere might be cleared ? 

Let me point out to my Arya Samaj friends that their protests. 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 43- 

The last among the Hindus against whom I have- 
been warned are Jeramdas and Dr. Choithram. I swear 
by Jeramdas. Truer men I have not had the honour of 
meeting. His conduct in the jail was the envy of us all. 

betray want of toleration. Public men and public institutions cannot 
afford to be thin-skinned. They must stand criticism with good 
grace. 

And now for an appeal to them. They have almost all entered 
their protests. I do not mind them. I assure them that I share 
their sorrow. It pained me when I wrote my criticism. It pains 
me now to know that it has hurt them. But I am not their enemy. 

I claim to be their friend. Time will prove my friendship. They do 
not want to quarrel with anybody or any faith. That is what almost 
all have said in their letters. Let them take to heart the tribute I 
have paid to the Samaj, its founder and to Swami Shraddhanand. 

I know the purifying work that the Arya Samaj has done. I know 
that it has laid its finger on many abuses that have soiled Hinduism. 
But no one can live on his capital. I want them to outlive the latter 
and extend the spirit of their reform. In spite of their denial I repeat 
that their Shuddhi propaganda savours of the Christian propaganda.. 

I would like them to rise higher. If they will insist upon reform from 
within, it will tax all their energy and take up all their time. Let 
them Hinduise the Hindu if they believe with me that Arya Samaj 
is a part of Hinduism. If they consider it as distinct from Hinduism,. 

I fear it will be a hard task for them to convert the Hindus. Let 
them ascertain where they stand. I have criticised because I want 
them to help the great national and religious movement that is now 
going on. The Samaj has a great future if it can outgrow what has 
appeared to me its narrowness. If the Samajists think there is no 
room for expansion I shall feel sorry. I ask them in that case not to 
be irritated because I cannot see their liberalism. They should, 
charitably overlook my blindness and patiently endeavour to 
remove it. 

Gandhiji returned to the subject in Young India of June 19,. 

. 1924. He wrote under the heading “Arya Samajists Again ” : 

So many Arya-Samajists have written such long dissertations, 
on my (in their opinion) ignorance of Arya-Samaj teachings and 
their excellence that I was anxious to publish at least one of them so 



44 


NATIONAL UNITY 


He was true to a fault. He is not anti-Mussalman. 
Dr. Choithram though I began to know him earlier I do 
not know so well. But from what I do know of him, I 
decline to tnink of him as anything but a promoter of 

that the reader might have the Arya-Samajistview of my comments. 
At last I have a letter which it gives me pleasure to publish. It is 
from Principal Ramdeva of Kangri Grunikul. I have taken the liber- 
ty of removing only one passage which in my opinion must have 
been written in haste and does not do him justice. It does not affect 
his argument and certainly takes nothing away from his passionate 
exaltation of the founder of the Samaj. Here is Principal Ramdeva’s 
letter : 

I was deeply pained to read your article on Hindu-Muslim 
Unity in ‘Young India’. I have never in my life read an article 
so disappointing from the pen of one so great. The article has 
caused deep resentment and heart-burning in the Punjab and the 
U. P. Instead of easing the situation it has inflamed the Hindu 
mind and led many thinking people among the Aryas to the con- 
^clusion that you are so much biassed in favour of Islam and 
.against the Arya Samaj that you cannot help rendering — though 
vquite unconsciously — a grave injustice to the latter. Your 
.attacks upon the metaphysical beliefs of the Arya Samaj were 
^uite irrelevant and had no bearing on the Hinda-Muslim ques- 
tion. They were not well reasoned out and you are in no mood 
for a metaphysical discussion. The Arya -Samaj ist’s belief in the 
plenary inspiration of the Veda has as little connection with 
Hindu-Muslim tension as your belief in metempsychosis has with 
.the split in the Congress... Besides if belief in verbal inspiration 
makes for narrowness, Islam is just as narrow as the religion of 
the Vedas. For this belief formed an essential part of the Mushm 
^reed even in the palmy days of the Mahomedan faith on whicli 
you dwell with such fervent enthusiasm. Your implication that 
Maharshi Dayananda was the first sage to proclaim the doctrine 
of Vedic infallibility is absolutely without any foundation in fact 
.and only reveals the dangers of dealing with subjects which a 
man — ^liowever great he may be— -has not studied. May I respect- ’ 
fully point out that the Upanishads, the Manu Smriti, the six 
.systems of philosophy, the Puranas and the works of Shankara- 



HINDU-MfJSLIM TENSEOl^q 


45 ^ 


Hindu-Muslini unity. I have by no means exhausted 
the list. All I feel is that if all these Hindus and 
Samajists have still to be won over to the side of unity,, 
the word unity has no meaning for me, and I should 
despair of achieving unity in my life-time. 

charya, Ramanuja, Madhvacbarya, Chaitanya and otlier medi- 
eval saints and sotiolars all preach fils doctrine ? Again the view 
that the Vedas contain the germs of all true knowledge includ- 
ing physical science is by no means new, all ancient scientists — 
like Arya Bhatta, Bhaskaracharya — held it. Besides modern 
Vedic scholars like Pavgee, Paramashiva Iyer, Bwijdass Datta — 
none of whom is an Arya-Samajist — have independently arrived 
at the same conclusion. I wonder if you know that Aravinda 
Ghosh has publicly declared that Swami Dayanand alone had 
discovered the right axioms of Vedic exegesis. The testimony 
of such eminent authorities — ^who devoted their life-time to the 
study of the Vedas — cannot be discredited by the mere ipse dixit 
of a Mahatma — however lofty his character and however great 
and over-flowing his love for his kmd — who has not devoted even 
five consecutive years to the study of the Vedas and the Ved- 
angas in the original. I am afraid you were ill-advised in ventur- 
ing into the field of theological polemics while writing as the 
supreme political leader of men of all faiths and creeds. Vour 
characterisation of the * Satyartha Prakash ’ is most unfair. It- 
seems you have not read the first ten chapters which deal with 
prayer, brahmaoharya, pedagogics, marriage reform, sanyas, 
politics, salvation, knowledge and nescience, Vedas and 
vegetarianism and from the main book — these chapters do not, as 
a rule, touch upon other religions — and have only skipped over 
the four supplementary chapters. In fact, you had by means of 
the mysterious stirrings of your subliminal consciousness, arriv- 
ed at the queer conclusion that Swami Dayananda was ihtole- 
rant, long before you had glanced at the ‘Satayaratha Prakash ’ 
and your hurried reading was vitiated by your pre-conceptions. . 
You were in the position of a judge who pronounced his sentence 
after heaping the prosecution and then addressed himself to 
defence evidence in order to be able to write out a judgment in 
support of the sentence. Men who have read Dayanand’s works . 



46 


NATIONAL UNITY 


Bari Saheb 

Bat the suspicion against these friends is not its 
worst part. I have been warned against Mussalmans 
just as much as I have been warned against TTindus. 


carefully — your friend Andrews is one of them — or had the 
privilege of sitting at his feet — men like A 0. Hume, Revd. 
Scott, Sir Syed Ahmed, Ranade, Telang, Malabari, Raghunath 
Rao and Bishan Narayan Dhar— had never any difficulty in 
declaring that, whatever the merits of individual comments has-' 
ed upon data supplied to him, he was the most tolerant religious 
reformer of the age and his love for his kind transcended the 
hounds of race, country, color and even cultural unities. I must 
finish now. What I have written may sound presumptous if 
solely regarded as the comments of a very small man upon the 
conduct of one justly regarded as the greatest amn of the world, 
My only defence is that my reverence for you is equalled only by 
my love and devotion. Love and devotion have between them- 
selves the miraculous power to raise the humble to the level of 
the mighty. With love and reverence, 

Tours affectionately, 
Rama Leva. 

I have always said that my politics are subservient to my reli- 
gion. I have found myself in them, as I could not live my religious 
life (i. e.) a life of service, without being affected by them. I should 
discard them today if they hindered it. I cannot therefore subscribe 
to the doctrine that I may not, being a political leader, deal with 
matters religious. I have dealt with the Ary a Samaj because I felt 
that it was losing its usefulness and its present activity was doing 
harm to the country itself. As a friend and a Hindu I claimed to 
speak pointedly to those who derived their belief from a common 
.source. Had I been dealing with the relative merits of religions, I 
should certainly have given my views on Islam too. 

I confess that I have no first-hand knowledge of the Vedas. But 
I know enough to be able to judge for myself. Principal Ramdeva is 
wrong in thinking that I was prejudiced against Mahafshi Dayanand's 
teachings. I do not know the exact terms of the tribute paid to the 



HINDU-MUSLIM TEifSION^ 47 

Let me take 011137' three names. Maulana Abdul Bari 
Saheb has been represented to me as an anti-Hindu 
fanatic. I have been shown some writings of his which 
I do not understand. I have not even worried him about 
them. For, he is a simple child of God. I have discover- 
ed no guile in him. He often speaks without thinking 
and often embarrasses his best friends. But he is as 
•quick to apologise as he is ready to say things offensive. 
He means all he sa37s for the time being. He is as sincere 
in his anger as he is in his apology. He once flared up 
at Maulana Mahomed Ali without just cause. I was 
then his guest. He thought he had said something offen- 
sive to me also. Maulana Mahomed Ali and I were just 
then leaving his place to entrain for Oawnpcre. After 
our departure, he felt he had wronged us. He hvad 
certainly wronged Maulana Mahomed Ali, not me. But 
he sent a deputation to us at Cawnpore asking us to 


great reformer by the great men whom Principal Ramadeva men- 
tions. But probably I should have joined them in their tribute and 
5till retained the opmion I hold. I do not love my wife the less be- 
cause I know her limitations. My critics have made the mistake of 
thinking that because I have criticised the founder, I have no affec- 
tion or regard for him. Let me also assure Principal Ramadeva that 
I have read all the chapters of Satyartha Prakash. Will he forget 
that a man’s moral teaching may be of a high order and yet his 
vision may be narrow ? 1 know that many of my friends, who believe 
me to be a highly moral man #nd my moral teaching of a high order, 
consider that my outlook upon life is narrow and even fanatical. I do 
not take their criticism as an offence, though I consider myself to 
have a broad outlook upon life and also entitled to be classed among 
the most tolerant among mankind. I assure my Arya Samaj friends 
that I have only judged, if I have judged, as I should be judged by 
them. Let us therefore cry quits. Let them consider me to be the 
most intolerant and ignorant among their countrymen and leave me 
the liberty to retain the opinion I have expressed. 



48 


NA.TIONAL UNITY 


forgive him. He rose in my estimation by this act. I 
admit however that the Maulana Saheb can become a 
dangerous friend. But my point is that he is a friend. 
He does not say one thing and mean another. There 
are no mental reservations with him. I would trust 
such a friend with my life because I know that he wilf 
never stab me in the dark.* 

The Ali Brothers 

A similar warning has been given to me about the* 
Ali brothers. Maulana Shaukat Ali is one of the bravest 
of men capable of immense sacrifice and equally capable* 
of loving the meanest of G-od’s creatures. He is passion- 
ately fond of Islam but he is no hater of other religions, 
Mahomed Ali is His brother’s alter ego, I have not seen 
such implicit faithfulness to an elder brother as in Mau- 
Jana Mahomed Ali. He has reasoned out for himself 
that there is no salvation for India without Hindu-Mus- 
lira unity. Their pan-Islamism is not anti-Hindu. Who- 
shall quarrel with their intense desire to see Islam 
united against attack from without and purified fron> 
within ? One passage in Maulana Mahomed Ali’s- 
Cocanada address was pointed out to me as highly ob- 
jectionable. I drew his attention to it. He immediately 
acknowledged that it was an error. Friends have told' 
me there is something to object to even in Maulana 
Shaukat Ali’s address to the Kfiilafat conference. I have 

* In answer to complaints that he was partial to Muslims,, 
Gandhiji wrote inter alia in Young India of June 12, 1924 : 

The critics must not think as some of them do that I am flatter- 
ing the Mussalmans for gaining a political end. Such a thing ia 
impossible for me, because I know that unity cannot be achieved by 
flattery. Courteousness must not be mistaken for flattery nor 
impudence for fearlessness. 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 


49 


the address by me but I have not had time to study it. I 
know that if there is anything offensive in it, he is the 
man the readiest to make amends. The brothers are not 
faultless. Being full of faults myself, I have not hesita- 
ted to seek and cherish their friendship. If they have 
some faults, they have many virtues. And I love them 
in spite of their faults. Just as I cannot forsake the 
Hindu friends I have mentioned above and effectively 
work among Hindus for Hindu-Muslim unity, neither 
can I work to that end among the Mussalraans without 
the Mussalman friends, such as I have mentioned. If 
so many of us were perfect beings, there would be no- 
quarrels. Imperfect we are, we have to discover 
points of contact and with faith in God work away for 
the common end. 

In order to purify the atmosphere of distrust of even 
the best of us, I had to deal with some of the principal 
characters. I may not have convinced the reader of the 
correctness of my estimate. Any way it was necessary 
that he knew mine even if his was different from it. 

Illustration from Sind 

This intense distrust makes it almost impossible to 
know the truth. I have received, from Dr. Ohoithram 
the alleged facts of an attempted forcible conversion df 
a Hindu in Sindh.- The man is said to have been done 
to death by his Mussalman companions because he will 
not accept Islam. The ftcts are ghastly if they are true. 
I straightway wired to ShethHaji Abdulla Harun inquir- 
ing about the matter. He very kindly and promptly 
wired to say that it was reported to be a case of suicide 
but that he was making further inquiides. I hope that 
we shall succeed in knowing the truth about it, I simply 
4 



'50 


NATIONAL UNITY 


point out the ditSculty of work in the midst of suspicion. 
There is one other Sind incident which I hesitate to re- 
port till I have fuller and more authentic particulars. I 
simply beseech those who hear about any such incidents, 
whether against Hindus or Mussalmans, to keep them- 
selves cool and pass on simply facts which can be 
sustained. I promise on my part to inquire into the 
most trifling of cases and do whatever is possible for a 
single individual to do. Before long I hope we shall have 
an army of workers whose one business will be to in- 
vestigate all such complaints- and do whatever is 
necessary to see that justice is satisfied and cases for 
future trouble are avoided. 

From Bengal 

The tales that are reported from Bengal of outrages 
upon Hindu women are the most disquieting if they are 
«6Veii half true. It is difficult to' understand the causes 
< 5 f the eruption of such crimes at the present moment. 
It is .equally difficult to speak with restrain t of the 
•cowardice of Hindu protectors of these outraged sisters. 
Nor is it easy to characterise the lust of those who be- 
come so mad with it as to take liberties with innocent 
wonien, : It is up to the local Mussalmans and the lead- 
ing Mussalmans in general of Bengal to find out the 
miscreants, not necessarily with a view to getting them 
punished, but with a view to preventing a recurrence of 
•such cr3m:es;. It is easy enough to dig out a few crimi- 
nals from their hiding places and hand them over to the 
police^ but it does not protect society against the repeti- 
tion of them. It is necessary to remove the causes hy 
undertaking a thorough process of reform.^ There must 
arise in Islam as well as in Hinduism men who being 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 


51 


comparatively pure in character would work among 
such men. Much the same may be said of the Kabuli 
terror. This has no bearing on the Hindu-Muslim 
tension. But we have to deal with such cases too if we 
are not to be helplessly relying purely upon the police. 

Shuddhi and Tahligh 

That however which is keeping up the tension is the 
manner in which the Shuddhi or conversion movement 
is being conducted. In my opinion there is no sucji 
thing as proselytism in Hinduism a§ it is understood in 
Christianity or to a lesser extent in Islam. The Arya 
Samajhas I thiiik copied the Christians in planning its 
propaganda. The modern method does not appeal to me. 
It has done more harm than good. Though regarded as 
a matter of the heart purely and one between the maker 
and oneself, it has degenerated into an appeal to the 
selfish instinct. The Arya Samaj preacher is never so 
happy as when he is reviling other religions. My Hindu 
instinct tells me that all religions are more are less 
true) -All proceed from the same God but all are imper- 
fect because they have come down to us through 
imperfect human instrumentality. The real Shuddhi 
movement should consist in each one trying to arrive 
at perfection in his or her own faith. In such, a plan, 
character would be the only test. What is the use of 
crossing from one compartment to another, if it does not 
mean a moral rise ? What is the meaning of my - trying 
to convert to the service of God (for that must* be the 
implication of Shuddhi or Tahligh) when those who are 
in my fold are every day denying God by their actions ? 

Physician heal thyself is more true in matters reli- 
gious than mundane. Bub these are. my views. If .the 



5Z 


NATIONAL UNITY 


Arya-Samajists think that they have a call from their 
conscience, they have a perfect right to conduct the* 
movement. Such a burning call recognises no time 
limit, no checks of experience. If Hindu-Muslim unity 
is endangered because an Arya Samaj preacher or a 
Mussalman preacher preaches his faith in obedience to a 
call from within, that unity is only skin-deep. Why 
should we be ruflSed by such movements ? Only they 
must be genuine. If the Malkanas wanted to return to- 
the Hindu fold, they had a perfect right to do so when- 
ever they liked.* But no propaganda can be allowed 

* Gandhiji has no respect for them who in any degree seek to* 
apply compulsion in religion. The following appeared in Yomg India 
of June 12, 1924 : 

The Bhopal Apostacy Circular, Friends sent me a copy of the* 
apostaoy law of the Bhopal state now over a month ago. I purposely 
refrained from dealing with it, because I was not then ready to/ 
publish my views on Hindu-Muslim tension and because I wanted to> 
make further inquiries into the matter. Meanwhile J have seem 
Dr. Ansari's note upon it. 

Here is a translation of the circular : 

“ Copy oijaridah, dated, 7th July 1920. 
Resolution No. 17, dated 5th July 1920. 

Her Highness the Ruler of Bhopal has been pleased to order 
that, in pursuance of section 300 of the Shahjebani Penal Oode„ 
Rule No. 1, 1912, that is in the Compiled Penal Code of Bhopal,, 
section 393, after section 393 A. the following be added, which 
after the date of publication will be in force and enforced : — 

Section 393 A. Any person renouncing bis faith after once* 
Apostacy c^er e^^racing Islam, shall be liable to be sentenced to- 
EnOracikg Islam of oitfier description extending to three- 

^ years’ imprisonnient or to fine, or both. 

This order is published for general information and observance,”" 

I do not know whether the dates are accurately given. But 
assuming the correctness, the law is of a fairly recent date. But 
whether it is recent or ancient does not much matter. The question 
is whether it is good law or whether it is bad law according to pure* 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 5S 

which reviles other religious. For that would be nega- 
tion of toleration. The best way of dealing with such 
propaganda is to publicly condemn it. Every movement 
^ittempts to put on the cloak of respectability. As soon 
as the public tear that cloak down, it dies for want of 
respectability. I am told that both Arya-Samajists and 
Mussalmans virtually kidnap women and try to convert 
them. I have before me volumes of Aga-Khani litera- 
ture wldch I have not yet had the time to study care- 
fully, but I am assured that it is a distortion of Hinduism; 
I have seen enough of it to know that it describes H. H. 
the Aga Khan as a Hindu amtar!^ It would be interest- 
ing to learn what the. Aga Khan himself thinks of all this 

* This reference to the Aga Khani Khojas offended them and five 
members of the community visited Mahatmaji whom he assured that 
if, as a result of his personal study of their literature, he found the 
charges levelled against them by his informants were untrue, he 
would apologise, but that — ^he wrote in Young India of June 12, 1924 — 
’“they must not take it ill, if I confirm the informants’ opinion.” He 
continued : 

I have also told them that I cannot subscribe to the belief that 
H. H. the Aga Khan is an a’oalar in the Hindu sense. I have also 
told them that the use made by them of the mystic syllable ‘Om* 
and the form given to it by them is in my opinion taking liberty 
with things of the Hindu faith. 

Islam. . The ideal before us is that the two, and for that matter, all 
the religions should live in peace and that there may be free inter-^ 
change among them if the people so desire, in other words there 
should be no compulsion in religion. Some of us Hindus and Mussal- 
mans are endeavouring to bring up the practice to the level of that 
ideal. If, therefore, Islam does not make it penal for one who has 
embraced it to go back to one’s own faith^ the law in question must 
be considered to be against the spirit of Islam and therefore it should 
be abrogated at the earliest moment. I hope that, if the position, is 
as^ I have stated, the Mussalman leaders will request her Highness 
i he Begum Saheba of Bhopal to repeal the law. 



54 


NATIONAL UNITY 


literature. I have many Khoja friends. I commend 
this literature to their attention. A gentleman told me 
that some agents of the Aga-Khani movement lend 
money to poor illiterate Hindus and then tell them that 
the debt would be wiped out if the debtor would accept 
Islam. [ would regard this as conversion by unlawful in- 
ducements. But the worst form is that preached by a 
gentleman of Delhi. I have read his pamphlet from cover 
to cover. It gives detailed instructions to preachers how 
to carry on propaganda. It starts with a lofty proposition 
that Islam is merely preachingof the unity of God. This 
grand truth is to be preached, according to the writer, 
by every Mussalman irrespective ofcharacter. A secret 
department of spies is advocated whose one business is 
to be to pry into the privacy of non-Muslim households. 
Prostitutes, professional singers, mendicants, Govern- 
ment servants, lawyers, doctorvS, artisans are pressed 
into the service. If this kind of propaganda becomes 
popular, no Hindu household would be safe from the 
secret attention of disguised misinterpreters (I cannot 
call them missionaries) of the great message of the 
Prophet of Islam. I am told by respectable Hindus that 
this pamphlet is widely read in the Nizam’s dominions 
and, that the methods advocated in it are extensively 
practised in the Nizam’s dominions. 

As a Hindu I feel sorry that methods of such doubt- 
ful morality should have been seriously advocated by a 
gentleman who is a well-known Urdu author and has a 

* But * they say, * what are we to do if we honestly hold such 
belief? ’ I liave told them that they should then hold fast to their 
belief and give me the liberty to say and write what' I belieVe to be 
right. They further re:^udiated with- great emphasis the charge that 
they converted by giving worldly temptations. 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSIOIT 55. 

large circle of readers. My Mussalman friends tell me. 
that no respectable Mussalman approves of the methods 
advocated. The point however is not what the 
respectable Mussalraans think. The point is whether a 
considerable number of Mussalman masses accept and 
follow them. A portion of the Punjab press is simply 
scurrilous. It is at times even filthy. I have gone 
through the torture of reading many extracts. These 
sheets are conducted by Arya Samajists or Hindu and 
Mussalman writers. Each vies with the other in using 
abusive language and reviling the religion of the 
opponent. These papers have, I understand, a fairly 
large circulation. They find place even in respectable 
reading rooms. 

I have heard it said that the G-overnment emissaries 
are at the back of this campaign of calumny. I hesitate 
to believe it, ■ But even assuming the truth of it, the 
public of the Punjab should be able to cope with the 
growing disgrace. 

I think I have now examined all the causes, both 
original and continuing, pf the tension between the tvy'o 
communities. It is now time to examine the treatment 
of two consent causes of friction. 

Cow- Slaughter 

The first is cow slaughter. -Thought I regard oow 
protection as the central fact of Hinduism, central 
because it is common to classes, as well as masses, X 
have never been able to understand the antipathy 
towards the Mussalmans on that score. We say 
nothing about the slaughter th^t daily takes , place 
on behalf of Englishmen. Our anger becomes red-hot 
when a Mussalman slaughters- a cow. . ^1 the , riots 
that have taken plape in the. name of. the,, oow 



56 NATIONAL UNITY 

have been an insane waste of effort. They have 
not saved a single cow, but they have on the contrary 
stiffened the backs of the Mussalmans and resulted in 
more slaughtei*. I am satisfied that daring 1921 more 
cows were saved through the voluntary and generous 
effort of the Mussalmans than through the Hindu effort 
during all the • previous twenty years (say). Cow 
protection should coinmenoe with ourselves. In no part 
of the world perhaps are cattle worse treated than in 
India, I have w'ept to see Hindu drivers goading their 
jaded oxen with the iron points of their cruel sticks. 
The half-starved condition of the majority of our cattle 
are a disgrace to us. The cows find there necks under 
the butcher’s knife because Hindus sell them. The 
only effective and honourable' way is to befriend the 
Mussalmans and leave it to' their honour to save the cow. 
Cow protection sbcieties !must turn their attention 
to ‘the feeding bf battle, prevention of the cruelty, 
preservation of the fast disappearing pasture land, 
improving the breed of cattle, buying from poor 
shepherds and ttirning pinjrapoles into model self- 
supporting dairies. Hindus do sin against God and 
man when they omit to do any of the things I have 
described above. They commit no sin, if they cannot 
prevent cow slaughter at the hands of Mussalmans, and 
they do sin grievously when in order to save the cow, 
they quarrel with* the Mussalman. 

Mmic 

The question of music before mosques and now even 
arati in Hindu temples, has ocoupieid my prayerful 
attention, this is a sore point with .ifie Mussalmans.' 
as cow slaughter is with the Hindus. And jpst as 



HINDU-MUSLIM T fSNS TON 57 

Hindus cannot compel Mussalmans to refrain from 
killing cows, so can Mussalmans not compel Hindus to 
•stop music or orati at the point of the sword. They 
must crust to the. good sense of the Hindus. As a Hindu 
I would certainly advise Hindus, without any bargain- 
ing spirit, to consult the sentiment of their Mussalman 
neighbour, and wherever they can, accomodate him. I 
have heard that in some places, Hindus purposely and 
with the deliberate intention of irritating Mussalmans, 
perform arati just when the Mussalman prayers 
<5omnience. This is an insensate and unfriendly act. 
Hriendsbip' presupposes the utmost attention to the 
feelings of a friend. It never requires consideration. 
But Mussalmans should never expect to stop Hindu 
music by force. To yield to the threat or actual use of 
violence is a surrender of one’s self-respect and religious 
<5onviction. But a person, who never will yield to threat^ 
would always minimise and, if possible, even avoid 
occasions for causing irritation. 

Pact 

In view of whht I have said above, it is clear that 
we have not even a'rrived at the stage when a pact is 
oven a possibility. There can be, it is clear to xn% 
no question of bargain’ about cow-slaughter and music.i 
On either feide it must be a voluntary effort and therefore 
•can never be the basis, of a pact- 

For political matters a pact or an undertaking 
is certainly necessary. But in my opinion the 
restoration &f friendly feeling is a condition prece- 
dent to any effectual pact. Are both parties sincerely 
willing to accept tbe proposition that no disputes, 
r-eligious or ' otherwise, ' between the communities 



58 ' 


NATIONAL UNITY 


should ever be- decided by an appeal to force, i. e.,. 
violence? I am convined that the masses do not 
want to fight, if the leaders do not. If, therefore, 
the leaders agree that mutual vows should be, as in 
all advanced countries, erased out of our public life as 
being barbarous and irreligious, I have no doubt that 
the masses will quickly follow them. 

So far as the political matters are concerned, as a 
non-co-operator, I am quite uninterested in them ; but 
for the future understanding I hold that it is up to the* 
Hindus as the major party not to bargain but leave the 
the pen in the hands of, say, Hakim Saheb Ajmal Khan 
and abide by his decision. * I would similarly deal with 
the Sikhs, the Christians and the Parsis and be satisfied 
with the residue. It is in my opinion, the only just,, 
equitable, honourable and dignified solution. Hindus if 
they want unity among different races must have the 
courage to trust the minorities. Any other adjustment 
must have a nasty taste in the mouth. Surely the* 
millions do not want to become legislators and 
municipal councillors. And if we have understood the 
proper use of Satyagfaha, we should know that it can* 
be and should be used against an unjust administrator 
whether he be a Hindu, Mussulman or of any other 
race or denomination, whereas a just administrator or 
representative is always and equally good whether he' 
be a Hindu or Mussalman. We want to do away with 
the communal spirit. The majority must therefore make* 
the beginning and thus inspire the minorities with 
confidence in their bona fides. Adjustment is possible* 
oiily when’ the ; more powerful take the initiative* 
without waiting for response from the weaker. 

So far as employment in the Government depart-^ 



HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION 59^ 

ments is concerned, I think it will be fatal to good 
government, if we introduce there the communal spirit. 
For administration to be efficient, it must always be in 
the hands of the fittest. There should be certainly no 
favouritism. But if we want five engineers we must 
not take one from each community but we must take- 
the fittest five even if they were all Mussalmans or all 
Parsis. The lowest posts must, if need be, be filled by 
examination by an impartial board consisting of men 
belonging to different communities. But distribution 
of posts should never be according to the proportion of 
the numbers of each community. The educationally 
backward communities will have a right to receive 
favoured treatment in the matter of education at tho 
hands of the national government. This can be secured 
in an effective manner. But those who aspire to 
occupy responsible posts in the government of the* 
country, can only do so if they pass the required test. 

Trust Begets Trust 

For me the only question for immediate solution- 
before the country is the Hindu-Mussalman question. I 
agree with Mr. Jinnah that Hindu-Muslim unity means 
Swaraj. I see no way of achieving anything in this 
afldicted country without a lasting heart unity between 
Hindus and Mussalmans of India. I believe in the 
immediate possibility of achieving it, because it 
is so natural, so necessary for both and beq^-use 
I believe in human nature. Mussalmans may have 
much to answer for. I have come in closest touch with 
even what may be considered a bad lot.*' I cannot re- 
call a single occasion when I had to regret it. The 
Mussalmans are brave, they are generous and trusting^ 



‘60 


NATIONAL UNITY 


^he moment their suspicion is disarmed. Hindus living 
as they do in glass houses have no right to throw stones 
at their Mussalman neighbours. See what we have- 
done, are still doing, to the suppressed classes! If ‘KafSr’ 
is a term of opprobrium, how much more so is 'Ohandar?» 
In the history of the world religions, there is perhaps 
nothing like our treatment of the suppressed classes. 
The pity of it is that the treatment still continues. What 
3 . fight in Vaikom for a most elementary human right 1 
God does not punish directly. His ways are inscrutable. 
Who knows that all our woes are not due to that one 
black sin ? The history of Islam, if it betrays aberra- 
tions from the moral height, has many a brilliant page. 
In its glorious days it was not intolerant. It command- 
•ed the admiration of tlie woidd. When the West was 
sunk, in darkness a bright star rose in the Eastern 
firmament and gave light and comfort to a groaning 
world. Islam is not a false religion. Let Hindus study 
it reverently and they will love it even as I do. If it has 
become gross and fanatical here, let us admit that we 
have had no small share in making it so. If Hindus set 
their house in order, I have not a shadow of doubt that 
Islam will respond in a manner worthy of its past liberal 
traditions. The key to the situation lies with the Hindus. 
We must shed timidity or cowardice. We must be brave 
enough to trust, and all will be well. 



BOLSHEVISM OR DISCIPLINE 


61 


21st August, 1924. 

BOLSHEVISM OR DISCIPLINE ? 

BY M. K. Gandhi 

Two A.merican friends have written to me a passion- 
ately-worded letter saying that in the name of religion 
I am probably introducing in India Bolshevism which 
knows no God or morality and is frankly atheistic. 
They say that the alliance between Mussalmans and. 
myself is an unholy alliance and a menace to the world,, 
for, they argue, Mussalmans are to-day aiming at supre- 
macy in the East with the help of Bolshevic Russia. I 
have heard this charge hurled against me before now,, 
but I have hitherto taken no notice of it. But it seems 
to me it is time for me to consider it when it is brought, 
by responsible foreign friends in all good 'faith. In the- 
first place I must confess that I do not know the mean- 
ing of Bolshevism. I know that there are two opposite- 
parties, one painting it in the blackest colours, the other 
hailing it as deliverance for the down-trodden masses; 
all the world over. I do not know what to believe; All 
I can say is that my movement is not atheistic. It is^ 
not a denial of God. It has been undertaken in His- 
name and is being continued with constant prayer. It is; 
undoubtedly a mass movement but it seeks to tbuch the- 
masses through their hearts, their better nature. It is 
a process of discipline and hence it is that It has fillecj 
even some of the best of my co-workers with dispair. 

I am proud of the alliance between the Mussalmans 
and myself. Islam is not a denial of God. It is a 
passiongite avowal of one supreme deity. Not even its 
worst detractors have accused Islam of atheism. If 



62 


NATIONAL UNITY 


therefore Bolshevism is atheism, there can be no com- 
mon ground between it and Islam. They must in that 
-case come to death-grip. It will be an embrace of 
•opponents, not of friends. I have retained the American 
letter phraseology. But let me inform my American 
readers and others that I am under no- delusion. My 
pretension is very humble. The alliance there is bet- 
ween the All Brothers and myself, i. e., between a few 
valued Mussalman friends and myself. I would love to 
.call it an alliance between Mussalmans and Hindus — not 
anyself. But that seems to have been a day-dream. In 
truth therefore one may say, there is an alliance bet- 
ween some Mussalmans including the Ali brothers, and 
.some Hindus including myself. How far it carries us, 
the future will, show. There, is no vagueness about the 
.alliance. It is, the most natural thing in the world. It 
is tragic thajbifc excites wppder , and even apprehension. 
What. can be more natural than that Hindus and 
Mussalmans born and bred, in India having the same 
.adversities, the same hopes, should be permanent friends, 
brothers born of the same . mother-India ? The surprise 
is that we ?^hould fight, not that we should unite. • And 
why should the combination be a menace to the world ? 
'The greatest menace to the world to-day is the growiiig, 
.exploiting, irresponsible imperialism which through the 
enslavement of India is threatening the independent 
existence and expansion of the weaker races of the worlfi. 
That imperialism is a negation of God. It does ungodly 
acts in the name pf God. It covers its inhumanities, 
Dy.erisrps and O’Dwyerisms uude:r cover of humanity, 
justice and righteousness. And the,pjj;j of it is that the 
majority of Englishmen do not Icnow that their name is 
being exploited. The great pity of it is that sober, God- 



GULBAEGA GONE MAD 63 

fearing Englishmen are beguiled into. the belief that all 
is 'well when all is ill with India, that airis well with 
the African races when they are being exploited and 
degraded in their name. If the defeat of Germany and 
the central powers ended the German peril, the victory 
of the Allies has brought into being a peril no less deadly 
for the peace of the world. I wish therefore that the 
so-called alliance between Mussalmans and Hindus will 
become a permanent reality based on a frank recogni- 
tion of enlightened self-interest. It will than transmute 
the iron of sordid imperialism into the gold of hunxani- 
tarianism. The Hindu-Muslim alliance is intended to 
be a blessing to India and to the world for it is conceived 
in a spirit of peace and good-will to all. It has adopted 
non-violence and truth as the indispensable means for 
achieving Swaraj in India. Its symbol — the.^charkha,, 
the spinning wheel — is a symbol of simplicity,, self-re- 
liance, self-control, voluntary- co-operation . among 
millions. If such an alliance proves a menace .to, the 
world, then there is no God or God is asleep.- 


28 til August^ 1924 , 

GULB ARGA .GONE : MAD 
By M. K. Qajvtdht 

I hinted last week ^ that there* was evidently 
an organisation at' the back of the mania for desecrating 
Hindu temples. Gulbarga is the latest instance in point. 

* In Young India pi August ^1, 1924, Jlahatma Gandhi j^eferrjd 
■to the desecration of two temples one at ‘ Moradabad and one. at 
Amethi in Lucknow and stated, “There is no doubt that these cases 
have an organisation at their back” — an organisation which “can- 
not enhance the dignity of Islam ” and cannot popularise it.” » 



64 


ITATIONAL UNITY 


Whatever the Hindu provocation, if there was any, the 
Mussalinan outburst has an ominous look about it. The 
desecration of temples cannot be justified in any cir- 
cumstance whatsoever. Maulana Shaukat Ali when he 
heard of Shambhar and Amethi desecrations exclaimed 
in a fit t>f temper that the Mussalmans should , not be 
surprised if the Hindus retaliate arid some day find that 
their mosques have been desecrated. The Hindus may 
feel flattered or pleased over the Maulana’s indignant 
exclamation. But I do not and I advise the Hixidus not 
to be. Let them understand that I feel, perhaps nrore* 
keenly than most of them, every fanatic outburst on the 
part of Mussalmans, I am fully aware of my responsi- 
bility in the matter. I know that many Hindus feel 
that I am responsible for many of these outbursts. For, 
■they argue, I contributed the largest share to the 
awakening 6f the Mussalman masses. I appreciate the 
charge. Though I do not repent of my contribution, I 
feel the force of the objection. Therefore, if for no other 
reason, for this at least of greater responsibility, I must- 
feel, more keenly that most Hindus can, these desecra- 
tions. I am both an idolater and an iconoclast in what 
I conceive to be the true senses of the terms. I value 
the spirit behind idol worship. It plays a most im- 
portant part in the uplift of the human race. And I 
would like to possess the ability to defend with my life 
the thousands of holy temples which sanctify this land 
of ours,.- My alliance with the Mussalmans presupposes 
their perfect tolerance for my idols and my temples. I 
am an iconoclast in the sense that I break down the 
subtle form of idolatry in the shape of fanaticism that 
refuses to see any virtue in any other form of, worshipp- 
ing the Deity save one’s own. This form of idolatry is 



GULBARG^ GONE MAD 65 

more deadly for being more fine and evasive than the 
tangible and gross form of worship that identifies the 
Deity with a little bit of a stone or a golden image. 

True Hindu-Muslim unity requires Mussalmans to 
tolerate, not as a virtue of necessity, not as a policy, but 
as part of their religion, the religion of others so long 
as they, the latter, believe it to be true. Even so is it 
expected of Hindus to extend the sajtne tolerance as a 
matter of faith and religion to the religions of others, no 
matter how repugnant they may appear to their, the 
Hindus’, sense of religion. The Hindus must therefore 
reject the idea of retaliation. The law of retaliation we 
have been trying since the day of Adam and we know 
from experience that it has hopelessly failed. We are 
groaning under its poisonous effect. Above all the 
Hindus may not break mosques against temples. That 
way lies slavery and worse. Even though a thousand 
temples' may be reduced to bits, I would not touch a 
single mosque and expect thus to prove the superiority 
of my faith to the so-called faith, of fanatics. I would 
love to hear of priests dying at their posts in defence of 
their temples and their idols. Let them learn to suffer 
and to die in the defence of their temples even as God 
allows Himself to be insulted js^nd broken up in the insult 
and damage done to the, idols in which being omnipre- 
sent He undoubtedly resides. Hindus will not defend 
their religion or their temples . by seeking to destroy 
pfiOjsques and thus proving - themselves as fanatical as 
the fanatics who have been desecrating temples. 

^ * To the unknown who are undoubtedly behind these 
desecrations I submit : “ Remember that Islam is being 
judged by your conduct. I have not found a single 
Mussalman defending these outbursts not even under 
5 



*6 NATIONAL UNITY 

provocation. There seems to me to have been little if any 
provocation offered by the ‘Hindus. But let us assume 
that it was otherwise, that 'Hindus played music near 
mosques to exasperate Mussalmans, that they even 
Temoved a stone from a minaret. Yet I venture to say 
that Mussalmans ought not to have desecrated Hindu 
temples. Even retaliation has its limits. Hindus prize 
their temples above their lives. It is possible to con- 
template with some degree of elquanimity' injury to life 
but not to temples. Religion is more than life. Remem- 
ber that his own religion is the truest to every man even 
if it stand low in the scales of philosophic comparison. 
But presumption is against such Hindu provocation. 
The desecration in Multan was an unprovoked act. I 
have been trying to find proof for the allegations 
about Hindu desecration in the places referred to in my 
article on Hindu-Muslim tension. I have failed to re- 
ceive any proof in support of them. You will not 
enhance the reputation of Islam by the acts reported 
about Amethi, Shambhar, and G-ulbarga. If you will 
permit me to say so, I feel al5otitf^the'4jonour of Islam as 
much as i feel about my own religion. This I do be- 
cause I desire to live in peftrfeetjvcpen and hearty 
friendship with Mussalmans: I cannot Help saying that 
these desecrations are cutting a deep wound in my 
heart. 

To the Hindus and Mussalmans of Delhi, Isay: 
'‘Yours is a golden opportunity, if you desire amity 
between the two communities. In the light of what 
seems to have happened at Amethi, Shambhar, and 
Gulbarga, it is doubly your duty to solve the* question. 
You have had the rare good fortune of having amongst 
you two Mussalmans Hakim Saheb Ajmal Ehan and 



THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS 


67 


Dr. Ansari who have hitherto enjoyed the confidence of 
both the communities. You have therefore noble tradi- 
tions behind you. You can turn your quarrels to good 
account by closing the ranks and establishing a heart 
friendship that will not break under any strain whatso- 
ever. I have placed my ^erviceg at your disposal. If you 
will have me to act as a mediator between y'ou, I am pre- 
pared to bury myself in Delhi and in collaboration with 
any others whom you may appoint endeavour to find 
out the true facts. An authentic story of the events of 
July last and the circumstances that led to them is a 
necessary preliminary to a lasting solution. I ask you 
to come to a decision quickly. The Hindu-Muslim 
question is the question on a proper solution of which 
hangs the destiny of India in the immediate future. 
Delhi can solve the question, for the others are likely to 
follow what Delhi might do. ” 


ISth September, 1924, 

THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS 
By M. K Gandhi 

As I am reaching Delhi, I read the following letter 
which ,I give almost word for word, save for two or 
three slight grammatical ooiTections : — 

“ The Mussalmans of Nagpur have run amuck. Though a Hiiidu, 
I .lj^ave hitherto studiously refrained from taking any part in the 
TTin du agitation at ^ Nagpur. am.' a believer both in non-violence 
.and Hindu-Muslim unity. .Believe me, there is no sectarian spirit in 
me. But the doings of the Mussalmans in Nagpur, as. in many othei^ 
places, are putting my faith to a very severe test indeed. The pity 
of it is that, not a single responsible Mussalman of Nagpur has 
publicly condemned these acts. Had it not been for the brave 



NATIONAL UNITY 


Doctor Moonje and the gallant TJdaram followed by the * Koshthis ' 
there is no knowing what atrocities the Mussalmans would have 
committed. I know there is no bargaining in love. I also agree 
that in love it is all giving. But I cannot forget that the sacrifice 
and sufferings undergone for the sake of love are voluntary and not 
forced. But the Hindu yields not out of his strength, not of his own 
free will, but out of his weakness and in spite of himself. To my 
mind the Hindus are only trying to shake off the slavery of the 
British to become serfs of the Mussalmans. Your pathetic article 
on ‘ Gulbarga Gone Mad’ is an index of the depth of your own 
feelings in this matter. 

But you have yourself several times declared that you would 
prefer violence to cowardice. You also wrote in the Young India^ 
some weeks ago, that the average Mussalman was a bully, and that 
the average Hindu was a coward. Alas I this is only too true ! How 
else could the Mussalmans of Nagpur, who are in a minority, rise so 
often in the teeth of the overwhelming number of the Hindus ? The 
fact of the case is that the docile Hindu commands neither respect 
nor fear. Whether or not Darwin was right is not my part to 
determine. But one thing is clear. The world has no place for the 
weak. They must become strong or cease to be. If the Hindus want 
to live, they must organize, they must get strong, they must agitate, 
and they must learn the divine art of dying for the honour of their 
women and their gods. 

But they are hopeless cowards. For them non-violence has no 
meaning. It only serves as. a mask to cover their abject cowardice. 
To preach to them non-violence sounds very much like preaching a 
sermon on moderation in diet to the famine-stricken before providing 
them With the means of satisfying their hunger or is like feeding a 
sick and infirm man with food that even strong men find it difficult 
to digest. Far from doing him the least good, itidoes him incalcul- 
able harm. 

If you follow this line of thought, will you not feel constrained 
to concede that for a real and lasting Hindu-Muslim unity the Hindus 
must develop the spirit of manliness? Must th^ynot learn to vindicate 
the .honour of their women and their temples? The weak are the 
greatest enemies of society. They corrupt both themselves and the 
strong, the latter by tempting them to bully. Weakness ourseth both 
him that is weak and him that bullies him. The Hindus may not 



THE QUESTION OP QUESTIONS 69 

retaliate in the sense of taking ‘a tooth for a tooth,’ and *an eye for 
an eye.’ They may not avenge themselves by violating the sanctity of 
"Mussalman womanhood or by defiling or demolishing mosques. But 
since non-violence is beyond them, should you not advise them to 
learn to teach the wrong-doers a salutary lesson? Must they not 
develop the ability to defend themselves violently, before they could 
he expected to appreciate non-violence? Do not the good of the 
Hindus, real Hindu-Muslim friendship, and, for that matter, Swaraj, 
lie that way ? 

These thoughts have been agitating my mind now for a pretty 
long time. I tried to reason with myself, but I could not find a 
satisfactory answer to the questions named above. Hence I turn to 
you for guidance. I hope you will excuse me for encroaching upon 
your time with such a long letter. I shall be earnestly awaiting 
your reply to this in the columns of the Young India at your earliest 
•convenience. 

I would like to have my identity, though not my letter, kept 
private.” 

The earnestness of the writer is written in every 
part of the letter. The reasoning is sound so far as it 
goes. My difficulty, however, arises when we come to 
working out in practice the writer’s propositions and 
their corollaries. The reader will find an outline of my 
scheme of work in the translation given elsewhere, * 
and made for me by Mahadeo Desai, of an article I 
wrote in Navajivan last week to meet a difficulty that has 
arisen in Gujarat and in answer to questions put both 
by Hindu and Mussalman friends. 

Mine is at the present moment a most pitiable posi- 
tion. Thousands, it may be said in truth, look to me 
for guidance at this time of trial for the nation. I have 
taken a leading part in the Khllafafc agitation. I have 
unhesitatingly and fearlessly propounded the doctrine 
of giving withodt the stipulation of receiving anything 


. See page 73. 



70 


NATIONAL UNITY 


in return. There is no fl-aw in my reasoning. But the 
correspondent’s question is, ‘ Is my reasoning relevant 
to the situation ? Have Hindus anything to give ? One 
can give without taking, only out of the fulness of 
possession. ’ 

Let us see. 

It is common cause between the correspondent and 
myself that the average Hindu is a coward. How is he 
to be turned into a brave man ? Is he to become brave 
by muscular development or by developing the bravery 
of the-soul ? My correspondent says, ‘ The world has no 
place for the weak. ’ He nieans, I imagine, ‘physically 
weak’! If so, the proposition is unsound. There are 
many animals physically stronger than man, and yet 
man lives. Many muscular races have died out and 
some of them are even now in the process of dying out. 
The proposition should therefore be, so far as man is 
concerned, ‘The world has, no place for the weak in 
spirit ’. 

The die is cast for me. The common factor of all 
religions is non-violence. Some inculcate more of it 
than others, all agree that you can never have too much 
of it. We must be sure, however, that it is non-violence 
and not a cloak for cowardice. 

Nowin order to arrive at a solution we must not 
think of the man in the street. We must think of our- 
selves who are behind the man in the street and pulling 
the strings. Let us take care that do nothing out of 
fear. I hate duelling, but it has a romantic side to it, 
I am engaged in bringing that side of it to the fore..; I 
would love to engage in a duel with the Big Brother.* 
When w4 are both satisfied that there is no chance of 


* Moulana Shaukat Ali. 



THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS 71 

unity without bloodshed, and that even we two cannot 
agree to live in peace, I must then invite the Big Brother 
to a duel with me, I know that he can twist me round 
his thick fingers and dash me to pieces. That day 
Hinduism ' will be free. Or, if he lets me kill him in 
spite of the strength of a giant, Islam in India will be 
free. He will have atoned for ^11 the bullying by the 
average Mussalman. What I detest is the match bet- 
ween goondas of* both the parties. Any peace based 
upon such a trial of strength will turn to bitterness in 
the end. The way to get rid of the Hindu cowardice is 
for the educated portion to flight the goondas. We may 
use sticks and other clean weapons. My ahimsa will 
allow the use of them. We shall be killed in the fight. 
But that will chasten both the Hindus and the Mussal- 
mans. That would remove the Hindu cowardice in a 
moment. As thing^ are . goin^, each party will be .the 
slaves of their own goondas. Xha.t means dominance of 
the military power, ijngland: fought for the predomi- 
nance of the civil power and won and lived. Lprd 
Ourzon did much harm to us. But be was certainly 
brave and right when he stood out for the predominance 
of civil authority. » .When Rome passed into the .hands 
of the soldiery, it fell.. My whole souLrises against l^^e 
very idea of the custody of my religion passing into the 
hands of goondas. Confining myself, therefore,* for the 
present to the Hindus, I must respectfully but earnestly 
warn the thinking Hindus against relying upon the 
assistance of goondas for the protection of their temples, 
themselves and their wives and children. With the 
weak bodies they have, they must be determined to 
stand at their post and to die fighting or without fight- 
ing. It would have been a glorious death for Jamnalaji 



72 NATIONAL UNITY 

and his colleagues, if they had died in the act of secur- 
ing peace. It will be a glorious death for Dr. Moonje or 
me, when we defend temples single-handed. That were 
bravery of the spirit indeed, 

Butihere are many less heroic things -to do.. We 
must find out the true facts about Nagpur. I am in 
correspondence with Dr. Moonje about it. I am wooing 
the Hindus and Mussalmans of Delhi to let me know 
the root causes of the trouble there. I have offered to 
arbitrate singly or in company. They have not yet 
repelled my advances. There is no authentic story of 
the unfortunate trouble. I must refuse to lose my head. 
I am not satisfied that the Mussalmans alone are to 
blame for everything in every place. I do not know 
what was the first cause. I do know that an unscrupu- 
lous press on either side is today poisoning the minds of 
the simple Hindus and the simple Mussalmans. I do 
know also that more poison is being spread in private 
conversations, and incidents are exaggerated beyond all 
recognition. I am going to leave no stone unturned to 
reach the bottom of this sea of darkness, doubt and 
•despair. A true statement of facts to date is the preli- 
minary indispensable to a correct solution of the tension 
that threatens to paralyse all healthy public activity. 
My intense desire to reach a solution of the trouble is 
not the least among the causes that have impelled me 
to a complete surrender to the Swarajists^ and all 
concerned. 


See section relating to Congress. 



HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

The following is the important article by Gandhi on the Hindu- 
"Muslim tension in the last issue' of Navajivan translated for the 
benefit of the readers of Young India by Mahadeo Desai referred to 
.above. 

I had occasion whilst addressing a public meeting at Surat to 
refer to the question of Hindu-Muslim unity in detail, as some 
friends there wanted to know my views about Sangathan. After the 
meeting I had a letter from a Mussulman friend offering suggestions 
■for the solution of the question. I now see that even Gujarat is not 
quite free from the dangers of communal disturbances. The 
Visnagar affair can hardly be said to be yet settled. There is some 
trouble in Mandal. There was fear of a little disturbance in 
.Ahmedabad. Some trouble is apprehended in XJmreth. Other parts 
(e. g., Bhagalpur in Bihar) are also in the same plight. 

The question of Hindu Muslim unity is getting more and more 
jserious every day. One thing should be made clear at the outset. 
In the case of many of these disturbances, we hear of Government 
.agents being at the back of them. The allegation, if true, would be 
painful to me, not surprising. It should not be surprising if the 
* Government fomented the troubles, it being their policy to divide us. 
It would be painful because of the necessary implication that neither 
of the communities realises wherein lies its interest. Only those can 
be set by the ears by a third party, who are in the habit of quarrell- 
ing. Government has never been heard of having fomented a quarrel, 
.«ay, between the Brahmans and Banias, nor amongst the Sunni 
Mussalmans. The suspicion or fear of their having set the Hindus and 
Mussulmans by the ears is always entertained, because both have 
.quarrelled so often. It is this habit of quarreling that needs to be 
.abandoned if we want to have Swaraj and retain it. 

Quarrels must break out so long as the Hindus continue to be 
seized with fear. Bullies are always to be found where there are 
-cowards. The Hindus must understand that no one can afford 
them protection, if they go on hugging fear. Fear of man argues 
'want of faith in Qod. * Only he trusts to his physical strength who 
.hasno faislih of Very little faith in God’s omnipresence. The Hindu 



74 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

♦; 

must cultivate eithex of these two — faith in God or faith in one "s 
physical might. If he does neither, it will spell the ruin of the 
community. 

The first viz. reliance on God and shaking off the fear of man is. 
the way of non-violence and the best way. The second viz. 
raliance on one’s physical might is the way of violence. Both have a 
place in the world. It is open to us to choose either. One man can- 
not try both at the same time. If all the Hindus and Mussalmans. 
both elect the way of violence, we had better cease to talk of winning 
Swaraj in the immediate future. Armed peace means not a little 
fighting that will end with the breaking of a few heads or of a dozen 
temples. It must mean prolonged fighting and rivers of blood. I am 
against Sangathan, and I am not. If Sangathan means opening 
akadas and organising the Hindu hooligans through them, I would 
regard it as a pitiable condition. You cannot defend yourself and your 
religion with the help of hooligans. It is substituting one peril for 
another, and even adding another, I would have nothing to say 
against akadas if they were used by the Brahmans, Banias and 
others for the development of their physique. Akhadas as akhadas are 
unexceptionable. But £have no doubt that they are no good for giv- 
ing a training to fight the Mussalmans. It will take years to acquire- 
the physical strength to fight. 

The akhada is therefore not the way. We will have to go in for 
tapasya, for self-purification, if- we want to win the hearts of Mussal- 
mans. We shall have to oast off all the evil in us. If they attack us,, 
we shall have to learn not to return blow for blow, but bravely to 
face death — not to die a craven death leaving wife and children be- 
hind, but to receive their blows and meet death cheerfully. 

I would tender the same advice to the Mussalmans. But it is un- 
necessary, as the average Mjissalman has been assumed to be a bully. 
The general impression is that the Mussalmans can fight and fight, 
well. I do not, therefore, need to tell them how they should defend 
themselves from the attacks of the Hindus; on the contrary I have to* 
appeal to them to forbear, I have to appeal to them to get the goonda 
element under control and to behave peaceably. The Mussalmans 
may regard the Hindus as a menace in other matters. They do re- 
gard them as an economic menace. They do dread the Hindus’' 
interference with their religious rites on the. Bakr-id day, But .thoy 
are in no fear of being beaten by the Hindus. I will therefore tell 



HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


7& 

them only this: ‘You cannot protect Islam with the lathi or the swords 
The age of the lathi is gone. A religion will be tested by the purity 
of its adherents. If you leave it to the goondas to defend your youths 
you will do serious harm to Islam. Islam will, m that case no longer 
remain the faith of the fakirs and worshippers of Allah.' 

I have up to now confined myself to giving general advice. 
Maulana Hasrat Mohani told me that the Mussalmans ought to pro- 
tect the cow for the sake of the Hindus, and Hindus, should cease to 
regard the Mussalmans as untouchables, as he said they are regarded 
in North .India. I told him : ‘ I will not bargain with you in this 
matter. If the Mussalmans think it their duty to protect the cow 
for the sake of the Hindus, they may do so, irrespective of hpw the 
Hindus behave towards them. I think it a sin for a Hindu to look 
upon a Mussalman as an untouchable, and the Hindu ought not to- 
do so, irrespective of a Mussalman killing or sparing the cow. The 
Mussalman ought to be no more '^Untouchable to a Hindu than a 
Hindu of any of the four castes is to one of the other. I regard these 
things as axiomatic. If Hinduism teaches hatred of Islam or of non- 
Hindus, it is doomed to destruction. Each community should then 
put its house in order without bargaining with the other. To nurse 
enmity against the Mussalman, tor the sake of saving the cow, is a 
sure way to kill the cow and doubly sinful. Hinduism will not be 
destroyed by a non-Hindu killing a cow. The Hindus’ religion con- 
sists in saving the cow, but it can never be his religion to save the 
the cow by a resort to force towards a non-Hindu. The Hindus want 
Swaraj in India, and not , a Hindu Eaj. Even if there was a Hindu 
Raj, and toleration one of its features, there would be place in it for 
Mussalmans as well as Christians ; it would redound to the credit of 
Hinduism, if stopping of cow-sianghter was brought about not by 
force, but ts a deliberate voluntary act of self-deninal on the part of 
Mussalmans and others. I would therefore deem it unpatriotic even 
to nurse a dream of Hindu Raj.* 

Then there is the trouble about music. It is fast growing every 
day. A letter I had in Surat says that, as it is not obligatory on a 
Hindu to play music, he should stop it before mosques to spare the 
feelings of the Mussalmans. I wish the question was as simple as 
the correspondent thinks. But it is the opposite of simple. Not a 
single Hindu religious ceremony can be performed without the ac- 
companiment of music. Some ceremonies require the aceompani^ 



76 


HIISrDU MUSLIM UHITY 


ment of continuous music. No doubt, even here due regard ought to 
he had for the feelings of the Mussalmans. The music may in such 
biases be less noisy. But all this can be and aught to be done on the 
basis of ‘give and take.* Having talked with a number of Mussal- 
mans in the matter, I know that Islain does not make it obligatory 
for a Mussulman to prevent a non-Mussalman from playing music 
jQear mosques. Nor is * such a thing, on the part of a non-Mussalman 
vcalculated to injure Islam. Music should never, therefore, be a bone 
•of contention. 

In mahy places, however, the Mussalmans have forcibly sought to 
jstop Hindus from playing music. This is clearly intolerable. What 
is readily yielded to courtesy is never yielded to force. Submission 
to a courteous request is religion, submission to force is irreligion. If 
the Hindus stop music for fear of %beating from the Mussalmans, 
they cease to be Hindus. The general rule in this respect may be 
said to be this, that where the Hindus have long been deliberately 
observing the custom to stop music before mosques, they must not 
break it. But where they have been playing music without inter- 
ference, the practice should continue. Where trouble is apprehended 
and facts are disputed, both communities ought to refer the matter 
to arbitration. 

Where a court of law has prohibited music, the Hindus should 
not take the law in their own hands. And the Mussalmans should 
not insist on stopping music by force. 

Where the Mussalmans refuse to yield, or where the Hindus 
apprehend violence, and where there is no prohibition by a court of 
law, the Hindus must take out their processions with music accom- 
panying, and put up with all the beating inflicted on them. All those 
who join such processions or who form the musical band must thus 
sacrifice themselves. They will thereby defend their Faith and their 
self-respect. 

Where the Hindus are unequal to this soul-force, it is open to 
them to resort to force in self-defence. Where death without resis- 
tance is the only way, neither party should think of resorting to law 
courts or help from Government. Even if one of the parties resort 
to such aid, the other should rej^ain. If resort to law courts cannot 
be avoided, there ought to be at least no resort to false evi4ence. • 

It is the rule of honourable combat that, after having heartily 
given and taken blows, both the parties quite down, and seek no 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 77 

reinforcement from outside. There should be no bitterness or feeling; 
of revenge behind. 

A quarrel should in no case be carried from one street to another.. 
The fair six, the aged and the infirm, children and all non-combatants 
ought to be free from molestation. Fighting would be regarded as. 
sportsman-like if these rules are observed. 

I hope that the Hindus land IfiLussalmans ^h Gujarat wtlf keep^ 
their heads cool and keep the peace. I hope also that the fe'ar of a 
possible trouble in Imreth is unjustified. Let both the communities, 
there bold mutual consultations and settle their differences amicably ., 

Running away for fear of death, leaving one’s dear ones, temples, 
or music to take care of themselves, is irreligion, it is cowardice. It. 
is not manly, it is unmanly. Non-violence is the virtue of the manly- 
The coward is innocent of it. 

It will take some time before the average Hindu ceases to be a 
coward and the average Mussalman ceases to be a bally. In the 
meantime, the thinking section of both the communities should try 
their best, on all occasions of trouble, to refer matters to arbitration,, 
Their position is delicate, but they should expend all their energy in- 
keeping the peace. 


25th September, 1924, 

ALL ABOUT THE FAST 

By M. K. Gandhi 

I wish to assui:.e thp rea4«i; that the fast* has not- 
been undertglken" withdist deiiBjaVation.^^Ts Tnairter of 
fact my life has been at stake^ever siftce the birth of 

Announcing a fast for ^1 days Mahatma Gandhi issued the* 
following statement from Delhi on September 18 : 

The recent events have proved unbearable for me. My hope- 
lessness is still more unbearable. My religion teaches me that 
whenever there is distress which one cannot remove,' one must fast 
and pray. I have done so in connection with my own dearest ones. 
Nothing evidently that I say or write can bring the two communities 
together. I am therefore imposing on myself a fast of 21 days. 



78 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

non-co-operation. I did not blindly embark upon it. I 
iiad ample warning of the dangers attendant upon it. 

.commencing from today and ending on Wednesday, October 6. I 
reserve the liberty to drink water with or without salt. It is both a 
penance and a prayer. 

As penance I need not have taken the public into my confidence, 
.but I publish the fast as (let me hope) an effective prayer both to 
Hindus and to Mussulmans, who have hitherto worked in unison, not 
to commit suicide. I respectfully invite the heads of all thS com- 
munities, including Englishmen, to meet and end this quarrel which 
is a disgrace to religion and to humanity. It seems as if God has 
Jbeen dethroned. Let us reinstate Him in our hearts. 

Commenting on the above statement Mahatmaji wrote in 
Young India of September 25, 1924 ; 

I observe that in my note on fasting I have been made to say, — 
My hopelessness is still more unbearable.’* My statement mentions 
•‘helplessness’, not hopelessness. A man with a grain of faith in God 
.never loses hope, because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of 
Truth. A man of God never strives after untruth and therefore he 
can never lose hope. On the contrary, his hope shines the brightest 
** amidst encircling gloom.’ But my helplessness is a very patent fact 
.before me. I may not ignore it. I must .ever confess it. There is a 
beautiful Tamil prpverb which says * God is the sole help of the 
helpless.’ The truth of this never came upon me with so much force 
.as it has come today. Handling large masses of men, dealing with 
them, speaking and acting for them is no joke for a man whose 
.capacity God has so circumscribed. One has, therefore, to be ever 
.on the watch. And the reader may rest assured that I took the 
final step after I Jiad realised to the full my utter helplessness. And 
I cried out to God, even like Draupadi when she seemed to be abandon- 
■ed by her five brave pydteotors. And her cry did not ascend to the 
Almighty in vain. That cry must not be from the lip. It has to be 
irom the deepest recesses of one’s heart. And, therefore, such a cry 
is only possible when one is in angiqsh. Mine has expressed itself in 
.a fast which is by no means adequate for the issues involved. My 
heart continually says : 

“ Rock of Ages cleft for me. 

Let me hide myself in Thee.’ 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 


79 


No act of mine is done without prayer. Man is a falli- 
ble being. He can never be sure of his steps. What he 
may regard as answer to prayer may be an echo of his 
pride. For infallible guidance man has to have a per- 
fectly innocent heart incapable of evil. I can lay no 
such claim. Mine is a struggling, striving, erring 
imperfect soul. But I can rise only by experimenting 
upon/myself and others. I believe in absolute oneness 
of G^d and therefore also of humanity. What though 
we have many bodies ? We have but one soul. The 
rays of the sun are many through refraction. But they 
have the sanae source. I cannot, therefore, detach 
myself from the wickedest soul (nor may I be denied 
identity with the most virtuous). Whether therefore I 
will or not I must involve in my experiment the whole 
of my kind. Nor can I do without experiment. Life is 
but an endless series of experiments. 

I knew that non-co-operation was a dangerous 
experiment. Non-co-operation in itself is unnatural 
vicious and sinful. But non-violent non-co-operation, I 
I am convinced, is a sacred duty at times. I have 
proved it in many cases. But there was every possible 
lity of mistake in its application to large masses. But 
desperate diseases call for desperate remedies. Non- 
violent non-co-operation was the only alternative to 
anarchy and worse. Since it was to be non-violent, I 
had to put my life in the scales. 

The fact that Hindus and Mussalmans, who were 
Only two years ago apparently working together as 
friends, arW now fighting like cats and dogs in some 
places, shows conclusively that the non-co-operation 
they offered was not non-violent. I saw the symptoms 
in Bombay, Ohauri Chaura and in a host of minor cases. 



80 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


I did penance then. It had its^ effect But this 

Hindu-Mu&lim tension was unthinkable. It became* 
unbearable on hearing of the Kohat tragedy. On the* 
eve of my departure from Sabarmati for Delhi, Sarojini 
Devi wrote to me that speeches and homilies on peace 
• wonld’- not «do. I must find out an effective remedy. 
She was right in saddling the responsibility on* me,. 
Had 1 not been instrumental in bringing into being the 
vast energy of the people ? I must find the remedy if 
the energy proved self-destructive. I wrote to say that I 
should find it only by plodding. Empty prayer is a& 
sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. I little knew then 
that the remedy was to be this prolonged fast. And yet 
I know that the fact is not prolonged enough for quen-; 
ching the agony of ray soul. Have I erred, have I been 
impatient, have I compromised with evil ? I may have* 
done all these things or none of them. All I know is 
what I see before me. If real non-violence and truth 
had been practised by the people who are now fighting,, 
the gory duelling that is now going on would have been 
impossible. My responsibility is clearly somewhere. 

I was violently shaken by Amethi, Sambhar andi 
Gulbarga. I had read the reports about Amethi andi 
Sambhar prepared by Hindu and Mussalraan friends. I 
had learnt the joint finding of Hindu and Mussalmaw' 
friends who went to Gulburga. I was writhing in deep* 
pain and yet I had no remedy. The news of Kohat set 
the smouldering mass aflame. Something had got to be 
done. I passed two.nights in restlessness and pain. On* 
Wednesday I kpew the remedy, I must do penance* 
In the Satyagrahashrara at the time of morning prayer 
we ask Shiva, God of Mercy, to forgive our sins know- 
ingly or unknowingly committed. My penance iathe 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 


81 


prayer of a bleeding heart for forgiveness for sins un- 
wittingly committed. 

It is a warning to the Hindus and Mussalmans who 
have professed to love me. If they have loved me truly 
and if I have been deserving of their love, they will do 
penance with me for the grave sin of denying God in 
their hearts. To revile one another’s religion, to make 
reckless statements, to atter,uiajtruJth,..tohreftk the heads 
of innocent men, to desecrate temples or mosques, a 
denial oTGod. The world is watching — some^jwith glee 
and some with sorrow — the dog fight that is proceeding 
in our midst. We have listened to Satan. Religion — 
call it by what name you like — is made of sterner stuff. 
The penance of Hindus and Mussalmans is not fasting 
but retracing their steps. It is true penance for a Mus- 
salman to harbour no ill for his Hindu brother and an 
equally true penance for a Hindu to harbour none for 
his Mussalman brother. 

I ask of no Hindu or Mussalman to surrender an 
iota of his religious principle. Only let him be sure 
that it is religion. But I do ask of every Hindu and 
Mussalman not to fight for an earthly gain. I should 
be deeply hurt if my fast made either community sur- 
render on a matter of principle. My fast is a matter 
between God and myself. 

I did not consult friends— not even Hakim Saheb 
who was closeted with me fora long time on Wednes- 
day, nor Maulana Mahomed Ali under whose roof I am 
enjoying the privilege of hospitality. When a man 
wants to make up with his Maker, he does not consult a 
third party. He ought not to. If he has any doubt about 
it, he certainly muet^ But I had no doubt in my mind 
about the necessity of my step. Friends would deem it 
6 



82 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


their duty to prevent « me from undertaking'-the' fast. 
Such things are not matters for consultation ^ or argu- 
^raent. They are ' matters . of feeling: When Rama 
■decided to fulfil his obligation, he did nbt swerve from 
his resolve either by. the weepings and wailings of his 
dear mother or the advice of his preceptors, or the enf- 
treaty of his people, or even the certainty of his father’s 
^4©ath if he carried out his resolve. These things are 
momentary.!- Hinduism would not have been much of a 
rdligion, if Rama had not steeled his heart against every 
teihptation. He" knew that he had to pass through 
every travail, if he was to serve humanity and become 
.-a model for future generations.' 

. But was it right for me to- go through the fast under 
a Mussalman roof? Yes, it was. The fast’ is not born 
out of ill-will against a" single soul. My being under a 
Mussalman roof ensures it against any such interpreta- 
tion. It is in the fitness of things that this fast should 
be taken' up and completed in a Mussalman house. 

And who is Mahomed Ali ? Only two days before 
the fast we had a discussion about a private matter in 
which I told him, what was mine was his and what was 
his was mine. Let me gratefully tell the public that I 
have never received warmer or better treatment than 
under Mahomed Ali’s roof. Every want of mine is 
anticipated. The dominant thought of every one of 
his honsehold is to make me and mine happy and com- 
fortable. Doctors Ansari and Abdur Rahman have 
constituted themselves my medical advisers. They 
examine me daily. I have had many a happy occasion 
in my life. This is no less happy than the previous 
ones. Bread is not everything. I am experiencing hew 
the richest love. It is more than bread for me. 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 83 

It has been whispered that by being so much 
with Mussalman friends, I make myself unfit to know the 
Hindu mind. The Hindu mind is myself. Surely I do 
not need to live amidst Hindus to know the Hindu mind 
when every fibre of my being is Hindu. My Hinduism 
must be a very poor thing, if it cannot flourish under 
influences the most adverse. I know instinctively what 
is necessary for Hinduism. But I must labour to dis- 
cover the Mussalman mind. The closer I come to the 
best of Mussalmans, the juster I am likely to be in my 
estimate of the Mussalmans and their doings. I am 
striving to become the best cement between the two 
commuflities. My longing is to be able to cement the 
two with my blood, if necessary. But, before I can do 
50 , I must prove to the Mussalmans that T love them as 
well as I love the Hindus. My religion teaches me to 
love all equally. May Grod help me to do so. My fast 
is among other things meant to qualify me for achiev- 
ing that equal and selfless love. — 22-9-24. 


MORE ABOUT THE FAST 

The following paragraphs notes and statements, 
which appeared in Young India give further 'details 
about the fast : 

NOTICE TO READERS. 

Young India and Na’^ijivan are my delight. I love to write weekly 
to, the public through this medium. But I am sorry to say tliat for 
two or three weeks I must suspend the editorial responsibility. My 
medical tyrants forbid it. Charlie Andrews insists on editing Young 
India himself during the period of purification and convalescence. 1 
gladly accept the offer. We are as blood-brothers. And the reader 
:will be glad to have the same message rendered in a chaster aud 
purer style. English is after all a foreign tongue for me. Charlie 
Andrews is master of it. It can, therefore, only give me pleasure to 



84 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


surrender editorial control of You)ig India to him. Mahadev Desai 
will be responsible for the editorship of Navajivan. Among the 
Gujaratis, I have no more faithful interpreter of my message than 
he. This does not mean that I shall write nothing for the pages of 
Young India or Navajivan. If my strength keeps up— and it is highly 
likely— to the end and if the doctors allow, I hope to contribute a few 
paragraphs to each. — M, K. G. in Young India of September 29, 1924. 


2nd October, 1924. 

CHANGE OF HEART 
BY M. K. GANDHI 

Hitherto it has been a struggle and a yearning for a change of 
heart among Englishmen who compose the Government of India. 
That change has still to come. But the struggle must for the- 
moment be transferred to a changp of heart among the Hindus and 
the Mussalmans. Before they dare think of freedom they must be 
brave enough to love one another, to tolerate one another’s religion 
even prejudices and superstitions and to trust one another. This- 
requires faith in oneself. And faith in oneself is faith in God. If we 
have that faith we shall cease to fear one another. — 2gtli Sept. 1924. 


MAHATMA GANDHI’S FAST 
BY SJ. RAJENDBA PRASAD 

Recent events culminating in constant fighting between 
Mussalmans and Hindus have oast a gloom all over the country and 
compelled Mahatma Gandhi to observe a fast of 21 days as, a penance 
for his own and his erring countrymen’s sins and as a prayer to the 
Almighty -to lift this -nightmare of communal bitterness and anger 
from off this land. Those who have followed the march of events; 
during the last five years are not altogether without a ray of hope 
even in this almost impenetrable darkness. The part which England 
had in -settling the terms of peace with Turkey roused the Mussalmans 
against it to a white heat. The atrocities which came with martial 
law in the Punjab brought shame and humiliation and resentment to* 
the hearts of all Indians alike. Both these sources of discontent and 
bitterness against the Government were, when combined, enough to» 
rouse the whole country. 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 


85 


Mahatma Gandhi, with the vision of a seer, saw the gathering 
storm and conceived the method of non-violent non-co-operation which 
was intended to fight against both the Government and mob outburst 
at the same time. There was an extraordinary upheaval in India 
and among none more than among the Mussulmans who felt that 
their religion was being attacked. It made the whole country, and 
particularly the Mussalpians, more sensitive and jealous than ever 
regarding their religious rights. It was the genius of Mahatma 
Gandhi which harnessed and directed in channels, beneficial to the 
counter, the forces of intense excitement which had been generated. 
Then came the time when most of the leaders, who had exercised 
great sway over the feelings and passions of the masses, had been 
put out of the way by a relentless policy of repression. The forces, 
'which, when well regulated, had almost brought India to the verge of 
a peaceful and bloodless revolution, were now to work their havoc. 
When the leaders came out of jail, one after another, they found the 
situation getting out of their hands, and the differences that arose in 
the Congress ranks kept them all engaged in settling their accounts 
with one another to the negelect of this vital danger. The result 
was that by the time Mahatma Gandhi was released and while he was 
still in a state of serious illness, mob riots had already begun in 
different parts of the country and’ the two religious communities had 
become terribly estranged. 

That Mahatma Gandhi has inflicted upon himself the severe 
penance of 21 day’s fast shows that his teachings, delivered through 
the press and on the platform, have proved t® have been uttered m 
vain. A more drastic remedy was needed in order to deal effectively 
with the fanaticisni that has lately been rampant in the country . 
His faith in his teaching of non-violence and non-retaliation is as 
bright as ever; and who knows whether this act of supreme self- 
sacrifice is not intended by unknown and unseen forces to solve what 
appears at present Jo be an insoluble problem? Would to God that 
the prayer rising from the hearts of his countrymen may create a 
band of earnest and devoted workers pledged to restore brotherly 
relations between Hindus and Mussalmans 1 Would to God that it 
may give us courage to stick to the right, to cling to the truth 
and to urge our erring countrymen in no uncertain terms that 
they should refrain from mutual recrimination and embrace one 
another in lovei Would to God that it may create in us a, sense of 



86 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

recognition of the rights of others and of appreciation of the feelings 
and sentiments of others, on which alone true tolerance can be based t 
May this tapasya bear fruit and may it lead to peace and good-wili 
among all the people of this country ! 


TWO NOTABLE STATEMENTS 

[Last week there was published in Mahatma Gandhi’s 

own statement about what happened wheu the decision to fast for 
twenty one days was taken. Two statements have been given to the 
Press by the Ali Brothers, which throw light upon the decision itself 
and also explain further its meaning. They are much too valuable 
to pass out of recollection amid the ordinary news of the day and I 
am publishing them afresh. I would add, before doing so, that I have 
been profoundly impressed by the teaching of Islam which the former 
statement in its concluding portion contains. This great passage m 
the Quran had never been explained to me before, and I am thankful 
to know it. ' C. F. A.] 

' Mactlana Mahomed ali’s Statement 

I had argued and argued passionately and entreatingly, but I 
had argued in vain. And it was 3 o’clock in the morning before I left 
Mahatmaji that night. I had, however, succeeded in this, that the 
vow of fasting, which seemed to me irrevocable in all circumstances, 
was made revocable on one condition, and that condition was that my 
big brother, for whom I had vicariously pleaded as my last resort, 
was coming on the urgent telegraphic invitation of the Mahatma 
himself, and if he could convince him that the fast was wrong, the 
vow would not be deemed irrevocable, and the fast could be broken* 
Such was his confidence, as he told me, in Shaukat’s “ robust com- 
monsense and his God-fearing nature.” 

The big brother has come, and he has seen : but he has not yet 
conquered. For so far no one has placed in his big hands the only 
weapon that can be effective in a struggle such as this. My own 
belief is that if either community made up its mind to offer a complete 
surrender and say that whatever the other community may do to it, 
it would not retaliate, peace would be restored and the gainer in the 
end would be not so much the community to which the surrender was 
made, but the one that has made the surrender. 

As a Mussulman, I pray that God will give my community th^ 
strength to make the surrender, as my brother and I have personally 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 87 

done long ago. For the benefit of my co-religionists I recite the 
parable of non-violence whicb Allah preached to the entire brother- 
hood of man through the Quran as through the Bible. 

He says : * “ Recite unto them the tale of the two sons of Adam 
with truth. When they both offered an offering, it was accepted from 
one of them and was not accepted from the other. 

“ The one said : I will most certainly slay thee. The other said : 
Allah only accepts from those that guard against evil. 

“ Thou wilt stretch forth thy hand towards me to slay me, but I 
am not one to stretch forth my hand towards thee to slay thee ; 
surely I fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. 

“Surely I wish that thou shouldst bear the sin committed against 
me and thine own sin. So thou wouldst be of the companions of the 
fire and those that are the unjust.’* 

*• Then his mind facilitated unto him the slaying of his brother, 
so he slew him ; then he became one of the losers. 

Then Allah sent a crow digging up the earth so that he might 
show him how he should cover the dead body of his brother. He 
said.: Woe unto me 1 Do I lack the strength that I should be like 
this crow and cover the dead body of my brother ? So he became of 
those that regret. 

“ For this reason did we prescribe to the children of Israel that 
whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in 
the land, it is as though he slew all men ; and certainly our apostles 
came unto them with clear arguments, but even after that many of 
them act extravagantly in the land.” - 

This is the story, not of the two sons of a certain person called 
Adam, but the parable of mankind. Cain revelling in his strength, as 
he believed it to be, slew his brother Abel, . but it was not Cain, the 
slayer, that yras really strong, but Abel who had the .courage to die 
without stretching forth his hand against his kith and kin. And it 
was Cain that was the loser. The end proved it to the hilt. The 
murderer, riding in his strength, did not for long gloat over the work 
that his hand had wrought. He desired to hide at once the dead 
body of his brother and his own shame therein. It was then that he 
confessed that he was not really strong but “ lacked strength,” to 
Such an ektent that from a man, tile noblest of God’s creation, he 
should become the iinitator of the contemptible crowi “ So he became 
of those that regret.” Real strength lies in self-restraint and in 



88 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


■withholding one’s hand even against the aggressor, and every life 
saved through forgiveness is not one life saved, but the life of all 
mankind. 

Christ taught the same lesson as Moses had in reality taught 
before him, but tfiey heeded him not. The last of the Prophets had 
to teach that lesson all over again ; and can it be a matter of pride 
to the Mussulmans, if “ even after that, many of them act extrava- 
gantly ” ? I am proud of Islam, as I am proud of nothing else ; and 
it is because of that pride that I wish the Mussulman to imitate Abel 
and not Cain. His must be the surrender to-day if he seeks to convert 
mankind to the Prophet’s own way of life. And he it must be, who 
should say to his brother, even if the latter is the aggressor, “ If thou 
wilt stretch forth thy hand against me to slay me, I am not 
one to stretch forth my hand towards thee to slay thee.” This should 
be, not for fear of his brother, stronger in numbers and greater in 
wealth and knowledge, but for fear of Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. 

All this I have said as a Mussulman to Mussulmans. But I can- 
not divest myself of the office of the President of the Nation’s 
Congress, and as such I am a trustee not only for Mussulmans, but 
also for Hindus and Sikhs and Christians and Parsis and Jews and for 
every one that calls himself a son of India. In my capacity as a 
National Trustel I make the same appeal to my Hindu brothers as I 
have made to the Muslims and I eagerly await the response of 
both. 


[Maulana Shaukat Alihas given to the press a briefer statement, 
which was shown to Mahatma Gandhi before its publication. The 
words, that he quotes from the conversation, have therefore been 
verified by Maihatmaji himself.] 

Maulana Shaukat A.li’s Statement 

On receipt of Mahatmaji’ts urgent wire, I left Bombay by the next 
train. My brother informed me on my arrival that Mahatmaji had 
at last consented, that ” if Shaukat Ali could convince me that I was 
in error I would^break my fast.” 

I had a long and frank talk with Mahatmaji. He has not convinc- 
ed me fully, nor have I yet suoceeied in convincing him, but I do not 
despair. HowOVer, imless the* Ml!fssalmans and Hindus of India unitedly 
promise me their fullest support in suppressing these Hindu Muslim 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 89 

•quarrels, I cannot find it in my heart to press my point with him any 
further. Mahatmaji told me that there was a time when Grod had put 
effect in his words and both Hindus and Mussalmans had listened to 
"him and carried out his wishes cheerfully . “ I find ” he added, “ that 
my words have lost their power, which to me means there is some- 
thing wrong with me and God has deserted me. I am fasting and 
praying that God may come back to me and restore effect to my 
words. As a Hindu, I know that when in trouble one has to practise 
.tapasya ; and while in jail. I learned about the life of the Prophet too. 
Whenever he was in difficulties, he used to fast and pray. Until God 
gives me His grace, I mean to fast and suffer and pray hard.” 

After hearing this, my only hope was that the response all over 
the country to his appeal could be instantaneous ; and if the Mus- 
.salmans and the Hindus of Delhi come forward and settle their 
quarrels, I think, I shall be in a strong position to go to him and add 
.my own prayers to the prayers of the rest of India that he will 
break his fast. 


MORE MESSAGES 

The following notes by Mr. C. F. Andrews, then 
Acting editor appeared in Young India of October 2, 1924. 

OUE DUTY 

There is one thing above all others that this sudden crisis has 
brought home to us. We have all of us to turn away from our own 
.self-seeking to God. As Mahatma Gandhi has told us in memorable 
words which will became historic : 

It seems as if God had been dethroned; and we have to re-instate 
Him in our hearts.” 

That is where the wrong lies and we must ourselves do penance 
.for it, each in our own way, before the wrong can be righted. These 
lower passions of ours, which have brought us into . so great misery 
have been acting in a terrible maimer to the debasement of our higher 
nature, where God alone should be enthroned and enshrined. We 
have been too eager to hear and believe every evil report and to 
.spread the evil still further by repeating it. We have not rejoiced 
only in' the • truth. * Love beareth all things, hopeth all things, 
.believeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth. 
'Wherehaabeen that love? We have seen it embodied in Mahatma 



90 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY * 

Gandhi, and it has put us all to shame ; but we have not yet embodi- 
ed it in our own lives. 

There are two things, at the present time, which we cannot do,, 
if *we would be true to that higher nature which God has bestowed 
upon us. We cannot keep enmity in our hearts and we cannot reta- 
liate. There are, at the same time, two things which we ought to do* 
and can do, if we will. We ought to show active love to one another 
and to confess openly if we have done wrong. 

I believe with all my heart that these are the marks by which 
God’s children can be recognised m the world today, not only in India 
but also in China and in Europe. This is the meaning of Christ’s: 
words, when He says : Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall 
be called the children of God.” 

Let us recognise that the problem which we face goes far deeper 
and further than India itself. The internecine strife which baa 
decimated Europe and this new and terrible strife which is driving- 
China into ruin are truly of the same character as the fratricidal 
struggle which has just begun in our own midst, Europe and China 
have each in turn taken up the sword and have found the sword 
turned backward against them. Fatally, ruinously, the truth haa 
been learnt afresh which declares that “ They who take the sword 
shall perish with the sword.” But in India we have been' given by 
God a unique opportunity of learning a higher lesson. It is impos- 
sible for me to put that lesson more clearly than through the story 
which Maulana Mahomed Ali has told from the Quran. 


S, A. WAIZ : A CHBISTIAN’S BLESSING 
An Indian Christian from the Punjab named Mr. S. A. Waiz ha a 
sent me the following letter which I gladly publish: — 

“However, I may differ with him in his political views, his 
methods of carrying on the present agitation, ' with a view to the final 
consummation of the attainment of Swaraj, I must say, that in hi& 
sincerity, saintliness of character, his love for his country, his frank 
admissions of his own faults, I know of none in the world to-day, who* 
surpasses Mahatmaji. There are some who jeer at his present action; 
there are others, who have repeatedly said that by sheer self-imposedt 
martyrdom, he expects to become at once an apotheosis of patriotism 
in India. Could there be anything more unkind, more unreasonable,, 
more cruel? 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 


91 


Who also in India to-day can be a link between Hindus, Muslims* 
and Christians, — ^furthermore, between Indians and the English ? 
There in Delhi under the roof of a Muslim, and at the feet of a Hindu,, 
meet Christians, Mussalmans and Hindus together in prayer for unity 
in India. 

Mahatma Gandhi has on more than one occasion declared that- 
he is not a Christian. But the tenets of Christianity have never before 
been interpreted in so simple and intelligible a manner by any 
Western Missionary in India as by Mahatmajfs present action. I 
have been a Christian all my life, but I must confess that the funda- 
mental truth of Christianity I never understood before. When I had 
read the news of Mahatmaji’s fast for penance and prayer, tears came 
out of my eyes, and for the first time in my life I realised the meaning 
of the Cross. A. Hindu has drawn me closer to Christ. May God 
bless .him! I have never had the good fortune of meeting him, but 
this is my frank unbiassed and fearless opinion of him. 

May my Lord be with him in this great trial ! May he spare- 
him for the guidance of millions of people in the country at this most 
critical'juncture.” 


Barodada’s Message 

The following telegram was received from Borodada on Septem- 
ber 26th. Andrews, Care Mahomed Ali, Delhi : 

Fear and hope struggling for Mahatmaji in my mind. Wire 
news about his health. Borodada.*’ 

This telegram Appears to me to express, in the briefest possible 
compass, the feelings of the people of India at the present moment. 
Among the poorest and most illiterate, as among the most learned 
and the greatest in the land, the thought of Mahatmaji’s penance 
has been uppermost in the mind. Fears are mingled with hopes and 
hopes are mingled with fears. But as Borodada has written in a 
letter, which he has sent to Mahatma Gandhi, Our faith is in God 
alone.* It is out of such times of intense feeling that the mind and 
the heart are set free from habits of convention and new pathways 
of moral enterprise are discovered. 



HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


S2 


SWAMI SHEADDHANAKDA’S STATEMENT 

I gladly reprint, for wider circulation, Swami Shraddhananda’s 
moving appeal : — 

“ In order to restore peace to Mahatma Gandhi’s mind it is es- 
sential that all sensational headlines should be stopped. Let there 
be no comment made upon these unfortunate quarrels of the Hindus 
and Mussulmans. Mahatmaji has started his 21 days’ fast. He 
will take only water. To appease the fury of this fire Mahatmaji 
has kept his sacred person before the Indians for sacrifice. Let 
everybody do his utmost to stop it. There is no occasion of giving 
•details, and neither I have got full light myself on it. But suddenly 
an idea has flashed through my mind that the Hindu Muslim papers 
jshould give up writing commentaries on each other. I believe that 
Hindus would stop writing anything about the Mussulmans after 
Teading my message, I hope that they will abstain from making 
comments, even in defence; at least for these twenty-one days. 
Nothing can be decided so far. Telegrams have been sent to 125 
national leaders who will meet in a Conference to devise means to 
assuage Mahatma’s sorrow. Mahatmaji is fasting and praying and 
let us join his prayer every morning. 


gth October^ 1924 
MY REFUGE 
By M. K. Gandhi 

To-day is the twentieth day of my penance and prayer. Presently 
.from the world of peace I shall enter the world of strife. The more I 
think of it the more helpless I feeL So many look to me to finish 
the work begun by the Unity Conference. So many expect me to 
bring together the political parties. I know that I can do nothing. 
God can do everything. O I God, make me Thy fit instrument and 
.use me as Thou wilt, 

Man is nothing. Napoleon planned much and found himself a 
prisoner in St. Helena. The mighty Kaiser aimed at the crown of 
Europe and is reduced to the status of a private gentleman. God 
had so willed it. Let us contemplate such examples and be humble. 

During these days of grace, privilege and peace, I have hummed 
to myself a hymn we often sing at the Satyagrahashram. It is so 
rgood that T cannot r^ist the pleasure of sharing a free rendering of 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 9? 

it with the reader. The words of the hymn better express my state- 
than anything else I can write. * 

Here they are : — 

My honour, O ! God, is in Thy keeping ; 

Thou art ever my Refuge, 

For Thou art Protector of the weak. 

It is Thy promise to listen to the wail of sinners ; 

I am a sinner of old^ help me 

Thou to cross this ocean of darkness. 

It is Thine to remove the sin 
And the misery of Mankind. 

Be gracious to Tulsidas 

And make him Thy devotee. 


I6th October^ 1924 

THE FAST THAT GOD HAS CHOSEN 
By C. F. Andrews 

All through these days of penitence and hope, at Delhi one* 
chapter from the Hebrew prophets has been in my mind. It is the 
passage read in Christian churches on Ash Wednesday, — the day 
which commemorates Christ's fast and temptation in the wilder- 
ness. It reveals the heart of Asia, as I have learnt to know it well 
during my life lived in the East. It discovers the inwardness of true 
religion. 

Lret me say, in a parenthesis, that it is the spectacle of the out- 
ward forms in religion, which first impresses the Western traveller — 
the temples, the mosque, the pilgrim shrines, the ceremonials of 
worship. But a deeper insight into every faith which had its birth 
in Asia, springing from among the people, — very often the unlettered 
and the unlearned, — shows that the outward is as nothing compared 
with the- inward, which alone is acceptable to God. I can remember 
how my first Urdu teacher, who was a Mussulman, told me a story 
about one who had fulfilled all the outward precepts of religion, yet 
everything was tainted by one stain of pride in the inward heart.. 
When the Day of Judgment came, he saw his outward deeds shrivel 
up, like a scroll in the fire. Only when he cried out in his agony ‘God 
be merciful to me*, was his soul set free from pride and his heart set- 
at rest. 



194 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


Thus it is, that the Hebrew prophet turns from the outward, ob- 
.servances of a fast to the inner reality. Its final test with God is 
humility and service of the poor. The passage is so great, and the 
English translation of it so noble, that I shall not spoil it by any 
paraphrase. It reads as follows : 

• Cry aloud, spare not, lift up tly voice like a trumpet, and show 
my people their transgression. 

Is it such a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict 
his soul, to bow down his head as a bulrush and to spread sack-cloth 
.and ashes ! 

Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable' day to the Lord ? 

Is not this the fast that I have chosen, to loose the bands of 
wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go 
free, and that ye break every yoke ? 

Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry and that thou bring in 
the poor that are cast out of thy house ? 

When thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that thou 
hide not thyself from thine own flesh ? 

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health 
shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee. 
The glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. 

Then shalt thou cry and the Lord shall answer ; thou shalt cry 
.and He shall say. Here am I. 

If thou take away from thee the yoke, the putting forth of 
the finger of scorn, and the speaking of vanity : 

If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted 
soul : then shall thy light rise in obscurity and thy darkness shall be 
.as the noon day. 

And the Lord shall guide thee continually and satisfy thy soul 
in drought, and make thee to prosper; and thou shalt be like a 
watered garden and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 

There can be no question in the mind of any one who thinks deeply, 
that Mahatma Gandhi’s fast has driven men’s thoughts inwards. It 
has forced them to lace realities ; to be unsatisfied with any mere 
^fputward profession, or show of outward repentence for what was so 
terribly wrong. Every word that has come fronr him, during the fast 
itself, has shown more and more clearly the inwardness of the fast as 
, far as he himself was concerned, and the purification which it has 
wrought in his own inner spirit. 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 95 

But how can we test ourselves ? What is the fast that God has 
chosen? 

The tests are simple which the Hebrew prophet puts forward. 
Though uttered so long ago they stand searchingly true for our own 
<iay. They are the two I have mentioned, — ^humility and the service 
•of the poor. He cries aloud : 

“Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact your 
labours from the poor! Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to 
smite with the first of wickedness. Ye shall not fast thus to make 
your voice heard on high 1 This is not the fast that God hath 
chosen!” 

There has undoubtedly been a diminution of strife for the time 
being: there is no longer visibly in evidence the pointing of the 
£nger of scorn and the speaking of vanity. 

But is this change permanent ? Does it yet go heart-deep? 
Is it a lasting -peace, or merely an uncertain truce? 

It may be that today, as of old when the prophet spoke, the 
second test will give the true answer to such questions. For if 
there has not been born, out of this present heart-searching, a genuine 
consideration for the sufferings of the poor, then the fast has not 
gone inward it is not the fast that God has chosen for us. 

If I speak out my whole mind, it is here where most of all I 
still have my own doubts. I cannot see how Hindu-Muslim unity is 
to be permanent, while the curse of untouchability remains unre- 
moved on the one hand and while Muslim illiteracy and depression, 
especially in Bengal, remains altogether unrelieved on the other. The 
poor still cry, and there is none to help them. We go on exacting 
their labours. In the terribly expressive phrase of the prophet, we 
hide ourselves from our own flesh.’ 

Ts this the fast that God has chosen ?’ 

As I have watched and waited, day by day, I have especially 
noted one thing. The poorest, who have come for darshan have 
always been the most unselJdsh and the most reverent. When I 
have told them that it would be kinder not to disturb Mahatmaji in 
his weakness, while he was resting, at one word of entreaty they 
have gone away. If again, when he was awake, they were taken up 
to see him, one look was enough for them and then they went away. 
Some, who were Chamers, were the most obedient and reverent of all. 
It has often touched me very deeply to witness this, during thei^ 



96 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


very anxious days, and I have understood better the words : “ Bless- 
ed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

While untouohability remains, Hindu-Muslim unity can never be- 
secure. This weakness and disease in Hinduism does not affect 
Hinduism alone, but the whole body. While vast illiteracy and 
grinding poverty remain among the Mussalman poor, in Bengal 
and elsewhere, Hindu-Muslim unity can never be secure. For where' 
one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer with it. Truly^ 
it would be a noble effort and a noble striving, if all the, good-will and. 
brotherhood which has been brought to fruition by this fast were to be- 
given in loving service for the removal of these burdens which are* 
crushing down the poor. If this were done the words of the prophet 
might come true in India in our own day : — 

‘‘Then shall thy light break forth as the morning and thine 
health Shall spring forth speedily and thy righteousness shall go- 
before thee : the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then 
shalt thou cry, and the Lord shall answer: thou shalt cry, and 
He shall say, Here am I.” 


I6ih October^ 1924 
HOW THE FAST WAS BROKEN 

BY C. r. ANDREWS 

In the evening of the day before the fast was broken Mahatma 
Oandhi was wonderfully bright and cheerful. Many of his most 
intimate friends came to see him as he lay upon his bed on the open, 
roof of the house, which was flooded by the moonlight. It was only 
four days before Purnima. . , . 

The time came for evening prayer^. As lusuaU he called everyone 
who was in the house, including the .Congress volunteers in 
attendance, to join him in the, evening worship. The passage from 
the Bhagavad G-ita, which , ie - recited every night at Sabarmati 
Ashram, was said, in unison It teUs about the complete conquest of 
the soul over the body’s ^nees and appetites. At its close it speaks 
of the blessed peace in the heart of the one who conquers. As I 
looked et that bright face before me I could well understand the 
, meaning of the words that were being recited. 

After the Gita, one of Kabir’s hymns wa.s sung hy .Balhrishna. 
Later on, the same evening, I asked for a translation, and j was told 



ALL ABOUT THE EAST 


97 


that Kabir in his hymn sings as a penitent to God, calling himself the 
chief of sinners. In God alone is his refuge. From experience I had 
learnt that hymns in this mood gave him most pleasure of all during 
his penance and fast. A very wonderful exposition of the Katha 
Upanishad followed by Vinoba, then a long silence. The friends 
parted one by one, and he was left alone. 

Before four o’clock in the morning of the next day we were called 
for the morning prayers. There was no moon and it was very dark. 
A , chill breeze was blowing from the east. The morning star was 
shining in a clear open sky above the Ridge. The phantom shapes of 
trees that rustled in the wind should be seen from the open room, where 
we were all seated. Bapu was wrapped warm in a dark shawl, and I 
asked him whether he had slept well. He replied: “ Yes, very very 
well indeed!” It was a happiness to notice at once that his 
voice was stronger than the morning before, instead of weaker. It 
would be difficult to describe the emotion of that silence which follow- 
ed on this last day of the long fast as we sat there waiting for all the 
household to assemble. We were all remembering that the final day 
had come. All the windows of the room where he was resting were 
open, and I sat gazing, now upon the figure reclining darkly upon the 
bed, and now out upon the stars. 

The hymn that was sung, at this special morning worship, was 
one that was a great favourite with Mahatmaji. It is in Gujarati, 
cand I had to get its meaning from Balkrishna afterwards. What it 
says is ^ this: “ The way to God is only meant for heroes : it is not 
meant for shrinkers. There must be self-abandonment to the fulL 
Only those, who are ready to give up all for His sake, can attain. As 
the diver dives down into the sea for pearls, even so heroic souls dive 
deep in their search for God.” 

After the prayers, the early morning hours passed very quietly 
indeed ; but before eight o’clock a very large number. of visitors had 
begun to arrive. Some went away again after being allowed to have* 
their darshan. Others stayed on, .we^iting till the fast was broken. 
At about 10 A. M. Mahatmaji called for me and said : “ Can you 
remember the words of tny favourite Christian hymn? ” I said: “Yes, 
shall I sing it to you now ? ” 

“ Hot now,” he answered, ** but I have in my mind that when I 
break my fast, we might have a little ceremony, expressing religious 
unity, I should like the Imam Sahib to recite the opening verses of 
7 



98 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

the Quran. Then I would like you to sing the Christian hymn, you 
know the one I mean, it begins ‘ When I survey the wondrous Cross’ 
and ends with the words : — 

‘ Love so amazing, so divine, 

Demands my soul, my life, my all.* 

And then last of all, I should like Vinoba to recite from the 
TJpanishadsandBalkrishna tosing the Vaishnava hymn, describing 
the true Vaishnava.” 

When I had gone downstairs I told Krishnadas about the arrange- 
ments. He was very ill that day and I knew that it would give him 
great happiness to be able to keep the ceremony in spirit with us, 
though he could not be there in body before noon, all the leaders and 
friends had assembled. The ladies also were present, who had loved 
to do him service. As the time drew near, I went upstairs again and 
he asked me to see to it personally that every one should be allowed 
to be present including the servants of the house. Before this, quite 
early in the day, I had brought up the sweeper to see him, who had 
been serving us very faithfully and he had spoken to him some very 
kindly words and had given him a smile of gratitude for the services 
he had rendered. 

Now at last the midday hour had come and the fast was to be 
broken. The doctors were called first by themselves, and he gave 
them the most touching words of thanks for all their love and' devo- 
tion to him. The Hakim Ajmal Khan Sahib \^as called, who had also 
oheered and helped him through his fast as a doctor and a friend. 
Maulana Mahomed Ali his most tender and loving host followed, and 
without any further order all went quietly into his room and greeted 
him with affection and sat down. The ladies who were present sat 
near the bedside, Swami Shraddhananda-sat at the foot^of the b^d with 
his eyes closed in prayer. Pandit Mo tilal Nehru, Deshbandhu Chit- 
taranjan Das, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Ali Brothers were all 
seated together near the bed with many others. 

The Imam Sahib, who had been his closest companion in South 
Africa aUd at Sabarmati Ashram, recited the wonderful Arabic open- 
ing words of the Quran, chanting its majestic language, which tells of 
Oodthe most Compassionate and the most Merciful, the Creator and 
Sustajner of the universe, -and the Helper of mankind. It ends with 
the prayer for His help to bje guided in the bath of righteousness; and 
not in the, way of sinners. After thibs, as had beenairraziged'y 'the 



ALL ABOUT THE FAST 


99 


Christian hymn was sung. Then followed some very beautiful pas- 
sages from the Upanishads, which were recited by Vinoba. Three of 
the siokas may be translated thus : — 

“ Those alone can realise the Divine Light within, who have 
purified themselves through the constant practice of truth, self- 
discipline, meditation and continence.’* 

“ By ceaseless pursuit of truth, the Bishis of old attained their 
goal, even the supreme Truth.” 

“ Let not my words belie my thoughts, nor my thoughts belie 
my words. Let the Divine Light always shine before me. Let not 
my knowledge fail me. I shall always say what is right and speak 
the truth. ” 

After the ‘Om, Shanti, Shanti ’had been uttered with the 
deepest reverence, Balkrishna began to sing. He sang the song of 
the true Vaishnava. “ He is the true Vaishnava who knows and feels 
another’s woes as his own. Ever ready to serve, he never boasts. 
He bows to every one and despises no one, keeping his thought, 
word and deed pure. Blessed is the mother of such an one. He 
reverences every woman as his mother. He keeps an equal mind 
And does not stain his lips with falsehood ; nor does he touck 
another's wealth. No bonds of attachment can hold him. Ever in 
tune with Eamanama, his body possesses in itself all places of pil- 
grimage. Free from greed and deceit, passion and anger, this is the 
true Vaishnava. ” 

It was strangely beautiful to think, almost aloud, as each of 
these passages were uttered, how appropriate they were ; how the 
ideal had been so nearly reached, along the hard pathway of suffer- 
ingt by the one who was lying there about to break his fast. Every 
^ne felt their appropriateness and hearts were drawn together. 

Before the actual breaking of the fast, Mahatma Gandhi turned 
to Maulana Mahomed Ali, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Maulana 
Abul Kalam Azad. He spoke to them; and as he spoke his 
emotion was so deep that in his bodily weakness his voice could 
hardly be heard except by those who were, nearest of all to him. 
He told them how, for thirty years Hindu Muslim unity hadheenhis 
ohief concern, and he had not’ yet succeeded in achieving it. He did 
not know what was the will of God, but on this day he would beseech 
them to promise to lay down their lives if necessary for the cause. 
The Hindus must be able to offer their worship with perfect freedom 



100 


HIKDIT MUSLIM UNITY 


in their temples and the Mussalmans be able to say their azan and 
prayers with perfect freedom in their mosques. If this elementary 
freedom of worship could not everywhere be secured, than neither 
Hinduism nor Islam had any meaning. 

Hakim Ajmal Khan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad renewed 
their solemn pledge and promise on behalf of the Mussalman com- 
munity. 

Then Dr. Ansari brought forward some orange juice and 
Mahatma Gandhi drank it. So the fast was broken. They joy andi 
thankfulness of those who were present cannot adequately be des- 
cribed. Throughout it all, as congratulations poured in upon him„ 
Mahatmaji remained unmoved, quietly resting. Soon the room was 
left empty. Mahatma Gandhi remained in silence and the great 
strain of the breaking of the fast was over. 

One thought was present with me, all the while, throughout this 
day of rejoicing. I could not help but think continually of Krishnadas, 
whose devotion to Mahatma Gandhi had been so unspeakably deep 
and true all through the long days and nights of the fast. He could 
not be present owing to his illness. But his happiness was none the 
less pure and full in spite of his bodily absence. When I went over 
to see him his face was filled with joy. 


A WELCOME MESSAGE FROM THE WEST 

The following resolution has been received by Mahatma Gandlii„ 
during his fast, from the Independent Labour Party in Conisborough, 
England : — 

“ We, the members of the Conisborough Branch of the 
Independent Labour Party, have watched with great interest 
the efforts of the Swaraj Movement in India to obtain political 
freedom, and we wish to assure you that we, together with a 
considerable section of the British public, have the utmost 
sympathy with your aims and admiration of your methods. 

'‘We believe, that claims founded on Truth and Justice are 
always best helped forward by strictly pacifist measures ; while, 
on the other hand, a claim, or attitude, that is upheld by force, 
and not by Truth, must assuredly fail, when the upholding forces 
decays, — ^which it must do, by the Law of Truth, on which 
human evolution is based. ' 



THE INNER MEANING OF THE FAST 101 


“We are deeply ashamed of the persecution, which you and 
the Movement have suffered from the British Government ; and 
, we wish to express our abhorrence of their methods, and our 
complete dissociation from such misuse of authority. 

We are, honoured sir, on behalf of the above Branch. 

Your most sincerely, 

John H. BROCKLESBY. 

Chairman. 

Geo. -Ray. 

Secretary'' 

Those, who have sent this resolution, are working men engaged 
in manual labour. In spite of much that has been reactionary in the 
policy of the late Labour Government, with regard to India, it should 
be remembered that there are working men and women in England, 
whose numbers may literally be counted by hundreds of thousands, 
among whom the ideal of Ahimsa, for which India stands, has be- 
come a living truth. They may not, as yet, be sulffciently strong in 
their influence to sway the whole Labour Party ; but their weight in 
the long run is certain to tell, because it represents a moral and 
spiritual force ; and this, in the end, is bound to prevail over the more 
material and selfish interests of labour. 


23rd October., 1924. 

THE INNER MEANING OF THE FAST 

By Mahadeo Desai - ’ 

During the days spent at Delhi, I happened to read, in the Unity 
Number of the Bengalee, the translation of an article from Navajivan. 
This at once appeared to me to be an incorrect interpretation of 
Mahatmaji’s position. When I asked about it, I found that Mahadeo 
had himself already noticed it with great pain. He therefore read 
over to Mahatma Gandhi both the original Gujarati and the trans- 
lator’s English version. Mahatmaji expressed to me his opinion that 
the translation was really a travesty. As the article contained very 
important material I have felt the necessity of publishing a correct 
translation by the author himself. May I add two things ? (i) If 



102 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


translations into English from the pages of Navajivan are made, 
permission should be obtained from the Editor before publishing, (ii) 
Apart from the article in question, I was greatly impressed by the 
quality of the material on ‘ Hindu-Muslim Unity ’ published by the 
Bengalee. — 0. F. A. 

We, who were privileged to be with Gandhiji, when 
he took that momentous decision to fast for 21 days, 
were also privileged to engage him in long discussions 
during the first week of the fast and my article produces 
the substance of two important conversations — one with 
me and one with Maulana Shaukat All. 

'Do yon see the meaning of my fast on account of 
the Bombay and Chauri Chaura incidents ? ’ he asked 
me. ‘Yes’ said I. ‘Then why cannot you see the 
meaning of this fast ? ’ 

‘ There you fasted by way of penance for what you 
thought was a crime committed by you. There is no 
such thing here. There is not the semblance of an 
offence that may be attributed to you.’ 

‘ What a misconception ! In Chauri Chaura the 
culprits were those who had never seen me, never 
known me. Today the culprits are those who know me 
and even profess to love me. ’ 

‘ Shaukat Ali and Mahomed Ali ’ I said ‘ are trying 
their best to quench the conflagration. But it is beyond 
them. Some men may be beyond their reach, even your 
reach. What can they do, what can you do ? The 
situation will take time to improve.’ 

‘That is another story ’ he answered, ‘ Shaukat Ali 
and Mahomed Ali are pure gold. They are trying their 
best, I know. But the situation is out of our hands 
today. It was in our hands six months ago. I know 
my fast will upset them. Indirectly it might have an 



THE INNER MEANING OF THE FAST 103 


effect on their minds, but it was not meant to produce 
an eifect on any one’s mind. ’ 

‘ That’s all right,* I replied. ‘ But you have yet to 
tell me where your error lay for which you are doiiig^ 
this penance. ’ 

‘ My error ! Why, I may be charged with having 
committed a breach of faith with the Hindus. I asked 
them to befriend Muslims. I asked them toJay their 
lives and their property at the disposal of the Mussal- 
mans for the protection of their Holy Places. Even 
today I am asking them to practise Ahimsa, to settle 
quarrels by dying .but not by killing. And what do I 
find to be the result? How many temples have been 
desecrated? How many sisters come to me with 
complaints ? As I was saying to Hakiraji yesterday, 
Hmdu women are in mortal terror of Mussalman.g^oovzdas. 
In many places they .fear to go out alone. I bad a 
letter from — . How can I bear the way in which his 
little children were molested? How can I now ask the* 
Hindus to put up with Everything patiently ? I gave 
them the assurance that the friendship of Mussalmans 
was bound to bear good fruit. I asked' them to befriend 
them, regardless of the result. It is not in my power 
today to make good that assurance, neither is it in the 
power of Mahomed Ali or Shaukat Ali. Who listens to- 
me ? And yet I must ask the Hindus even today to die 
and not to kill. I can only do so by laying down my 
own life. I can teach them the way to die by my own 
example. There is no other way. ..I launched Non-co- 
operation. Today I find that people are non-co-operating 
against one another, without any regard tor non- 
violence. What is the reason? Only this, that I myself 
am not completely non-violent. If I were practising 



104 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

non-violence to perfection, I should not have seen the 
violence I see around me today. My fast is therefore a 
penance. I blame no one. [ blame only myself. I have 
lost the power wherewith to appeal to people. Defeated 
and helpless I must submit my petition in. His Court. 
Only He will listen, no one else.’ 

It was a torrent that I could hardly catch, much 
less reproduce.’ I asked at the end : ‘ But, Bapu, should 
the penance take only this shape, and no other? Is 
fasting prescribed by our religion?’ 'Certainly’, said 
he ; ‘ What did the Rishis of old do ? It is unthinkable 
that they ate anything during their penances — in some 
cases, gone through in caves, and for hundreds of years. 
Parvati who did penance to win Shiva would not touch 
even the leaves of trees, much less fruit or food. 
Hinduism is full of penance and prayer. I have decided 
on this fast with deeper deliberation than I gave to any 
of my previous fasts. I had such a fast in my mind, 
even when I conceived and launched Non-co-operation. 
At that time, I said to myself, * I am placing this terrible 
weapon in the hands of the people. If it is abused I 
must pay the price by laying down my life.’ That 
moment seems to have arrived today. The object of the 
previous fasts was limited. Tlie object of this is 
unlimited, and there is boundless love at the back of it. 
I am today bathing in that ocean of love. ’ 

Maulana Shaukat Ali came the next day, Maulana 
Mahomed Ali had built much on his coming, for he had 
fondly hoped that he would probably shake Gandhiji’s 
resolve. Indeed Gandhiji had promised him that he 
would give up the vow if Shaukat or he convinced him 
that the fast was morally or in any other way wrong. 
The long talk with him was however of no avail, as far 



THE INNER MEANING OF THE FAST 105 

:as th»3 continuance of the fast was concerned, but it 
threw even more light on the inner-meaning. 

What have we done, Mahatmaji, to remedy the 
:situation ?’ he exclaimed, ‘Almost nothing! You have 
been preaching through your paper, but you have yet 
undertaken no long journey. Pray travel through the 
-affected areas and purify the atmosphere. This fast is 
hardly the way to fight the wrong. * 

Gandhiji replied : ‘ It is for me a pure matter of 
•religion. I looked around me, and questioned myj^elf* 
-and found that I was powerless. What could I effect 
•even by means of a long tour ? The masses suspect us 
today. Pray do not believe that the Hindus in Delhi 
fully trust me. They were not unanimous in asking 
me to arbitrate. And naturally, there have been 
murders. How can I hope to be heard by those who 
have suffered ? I would ask them to forgive those who 
have murdered their dearest ones. Who would listen 
to me ? The Anjuman refuses to listen to Hakiraji. 
When we were in the midst of negotiations about their 
.arbitration I heard of Kohat. I asked myself, * What 
.are you going to do now?’ lam an irrepressible 
•optimist, but I always base my optimism on solid facts. 

, You are also an irrepressible optimist, but you at times 
base, yours on sand. No one will listen to you today. 
In Visanagar in Gujarat they gave a cold shoulder to 
Mr. Abbas Tyabji and Mahadeo. In Ahmedabad a storm 
•was nipped in the bud. Some trouble was brewingin Um- 
reth when I left Gujarat. That I should be a passive wit- 
mess of all these, shows the depth of my incapacity. 
There are hundreds of sisters whose love and affection I 
•still possess. They are in mortal fear today. To them 
I want to show by my own example the way to die. 



106 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


“ Fight I do not mind if it be fair, honourable, brave- 
fighting between the two communities. But today it is 
all a story of unmitigated cowardice. They would 
throw stones and run away, murder and run away, go 
to court, put up false witnesses and cite false evidence. 
What a woeful record ? How am I to make them brave ?’ 
You are trying your best. But I should also try my 
best. I must recover the power to react on them.’ 

'No’ rejoined Shaukat Ali, ‘You - have not failed. 
They listened to you ; they were listening to you. In 
your absence they had other advisers; They listened to- 
their advice and took to evil ways. They will still see- 
the folly of their ways, I am sure. You have much to* 
reduce the poison in the popular* mind. I would not 
bother about these disturbances at all. I would simply 
go and tell them, “Devils, play this game to your hearts” 
content. God is still there. You may kill one another. 
You cannot kill Him.” Do not, Sir, come in the way'of 
the Lord. You are wrestling with Him. Let Him have 
His way.* 

‘I wrestling with Him!’ exclaimed Gandhiji in’ 
surprise. ‘ If there is pride or defiance in me it is alli 
over with me. Dear man, this fast is the i*esult of* 
several days’ continued prayers. I have got up from, 
sleep at 3 o’ clock in the night and have asked Him* 
what to do. On the 17th of September the answer came- 
like a flash! If I have erred. He will forgive me. All I 
have done, all I am doing, is done in a fully God-fearing 
spirit, and in the house of a God-fearing Mussalman at 
that. My religion says that only he who is prepared to- 
suffer can pray to God. Fasting and prayer are common 
injunctions in my religion. But I know of. this sort of 
penance even in Islam. In the life of the Prophet I have^ 



THE INNER MEANING OF THE FAST 107 


read that the Prophet often fasted and prayed, and for- 
bade others to copy him. Some one asked him why he 
did not allow others to do the thing he himself was 
doing. 'Because I live on food divine,’ he said. He 
achieved most of his great things by fasting and prayer. 
I learnt from him that only he can fast who has inex- 
haustible faith in God. The prophet had revelations 
not in moments of ease and luxurious living. He fasted 
and prayed, kept awake for nights together and would 
be on his feet at all hours of the night as he received 
the revelations. Even at this moment I see before me- 
the picture of the Prophet thus fastingand praying. My 
dear Shaukat, I cannot bear the people accusing you 
and your brother of having broken your promises to me. 
I cannot bear the thought of such an accusation. I 
must die for it. This fast is but to purify myself, to- 
strengthen myself. Let me not be misunderstood. I am 
speaking to you as though I was a Mussalman, because- 
I have cultivated that respect for Islam which you have 
for it. Afr.er I have fasted and prayed I shall be all the^ 
stronger, with all my reverence for Islam, to appeal to- 
both the communities, It is my own firm belief that the- 
strength of the soul grows in proportion as you subdue 
the flesh. We have to fight hooliganism and we are not 
sufficiently spiritually strong to fight it.’ 

At this point Shaukat Ali changed the line of his 
argument. ‘Are you not,’ said he, ‘even bound to consi- 
der what a shook it will be to the country, this long fast 
of yours ?’ 

‘No ! For man so often deceives himself! He often 
does things to please others, which he should have avoid- 
ed. Religion therefore teaches him to stand before the 
world after having taken a particular resolve. What 



108 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


‘vaniLy, to think that the woi*ld would be shocked at one’s* 
■own great penance 1 And whose wishes are we to con- 
sider ? There would be no limit. Had .Hama stopped 
to consult and‘ argue, he would never have gone on 
Vamvasa and rid the earth of its suffering. He, waited 
for no one’s advice. He went forth. For he prized his 
plighted word more than his life. Only he can take 
great resolves who has indomitable faith in God and has 
fear of God.’ 

‘One more que'^tion’ said Shaukat Ali as he stood up 
to go, ‘Do you need to consult no one before arriving at 
such a decision ? You need not even take into considera- 
tion the effect it would have on your health or body ?’ 

‘No. It is a matter between me and my Maker. And 
if I must consult someone, I had better not take the 
vow at all. You talk of the effect on my health and body? 
Well, if I am too weak to stand it I may die. What is 
the body worth? Whilst I was in jail I read with raptur- 
ous delight the lives of the Companions of the Prophet. 
There is a story that Hazrat Umar sent a present of 500 
dinars to spine one. He shrank from it, and began to cry. 
His wife asked him why he was crying. He said, ^M'xya^ 
unreality, — has come to me. What will happen to me?’ 
The were a present from such a holy man as Hazrat 

Umar. But he shrank from it because it was unreal 
evanescent. And so is life. Let God keep this body if He 
has still to make some use of it. Let it perish if it has ful- 
filled His purpose. In fact, I had thought of going on 
a permanent vow of fasting if matters did not improve 
after the fast terminated. Hakimji asked me not to 
think of it. ‘How can I cast it out of my mind ’ ?, said 
I, ‘It is in, my. bones, it is part of my very being I would 
ask Mussalmaps to befriend the Hindus, if they think ilj 



HYMNS OF MAHATMAJrS-FAST 


109 


is not contrary to their religion. If they think and tell 
me it is contrary to their religion, then lam sure I 
should have no cause to live any more. I should die. 
I had a plain talk with Khwaja Hassan Nizami Sahib 
also the’ other day, I told him, ‘Why do you try to 
convert the waifs and strays and the untouchables? 
Better convert me, so that after I am converted many 
more might follow me. If those poor people eznbrace 
Islam, they will not do so because they understand the 
beauty of Islam, but for other reasons. Islam will not 
be a whit richer for them. ’ 

It was an impressive dialogue. I have not even 
done bare justice to it. Shaukat Ali seemed quite 
overpowered. As he rose he said, “Three things I pray 
for everyday; the first is Hindu-Muslim Unity; the 
second, that my mother may live to see Islam and India 
free ; the third, that Mahatma Gandhi’s mission may be 
fulfilled,” 


6th November, 1924. 

HYMNS OF MAHATMAJrS FAST 

[During the fast, in the very early morning before 
sunrise, Balakrishna used to sing to us the simple hymns 
of Hindu religious worship, that were food to Mahatma 
Gandhi throughout the whole day. In the evening, when 
it grevv' dark, Balakrishna would sing to us again ; and 
his song would remain with Mahatmaji soothing him to 
rest. I asked Mahadeo to translate some of these for 
me, because I could only very imperfectly follow them 
and sometimes mistook the meaning altogether, though 
the music haunted me. When he had translated them,. 



110 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

1 was captivated by the beauty of the thoughts, just as I 
had been already by the beauty of the music. I was also 
delighted to find that ‘Borodada’s Dream’ had actually 
■come true, and that the religious heart of mankind is 
actually one. Below are given thi-ee of the most en- 
chanting hymns. — C. F. A.] 

I 

The way of the Lord is for heroes : it is not meant 
for shrinkers. 

Offer £rst your life and your all: then take the name 
•of the Lord. 

He only tastes of the Divine Cup who gives up his 
son, his wife, his wealth, his own life. 

For, verily, he who seeks for pearls must diveto the 
’bottom of the sea, endangering his very existence. 

Death he regards as naught: he forgets all the 
miseries of mind and body. 

He who stands on the shore, fearing to take the 
plunge, attains naught. 

The pathway of love is the ordeal of fire. The 
shrinkers turn away from it. 

Those, who take the plunge into the fire, attain 
eternal bliss. 

Those, who stand afar, looking on, are scorched by 
the flames. 

Love is a priceless thing, only to be won at the cost 
of death. 

Those who live to die, the.se attain ; for they have 
shed all thoughts of self. 

Those heroic souls, who are rapt in the love of the 
Lord, they are the true lovers. Pritam says, it is given 
to them alone to see the Lila of the Lord by night and 
•day. 



HYMNS OF MAHA.TMA.JI’S FAST 


111 


II 

So long as the truth is not known by thee, all thy 
•austerities are of no avail, even as untimely showers that 
serve no purpose. 

What avail are ablution and ceremonial and alms- 
giving ? What avail are the Sadhu’s equipments, — his 
ashes smeared all over his body and his matted locks ? 

What avail are penances and pilgrimages, the count- 
ing of beads, the mark on the forehead, the twig of tulsi, 
the drinking of Ganges water? 

What avail are the knowledge of the Vedas, the 
grammarian’s rules and all the arts ? What avail is 
philosophic erudition and a knowledge of letters ? 

All these things are devices, which merely satisfy 
the outer man. So long as the truth is not known by thee, 
thy life is fruitlessly thrown away, says Narasinha. 

III 

He is my captive. I have purchased him. Oh! I 
have purchased Him ! 

Some say He is too light: others say He is too heavy. 
I have weighed Him well, and know that I have full 
measure. 

Some say He is too cheap: others say He is too 
dear. Some say He is priceless. Oh 1 I have paid my 
full price. 

I paid ray full price in the streets of Brindaban, 
whilst He ,wa.s at play with Radha. 

No one knows, how I have secured Him. He knows. 
For, says Mira, He has only kept the pledge He gave me 
in m‘y previous birth. 

He alone is mine, naught else. I have left ray father 
and mother, my kith and kin ; in company with Sadhus 
have I lost all sense of shame. For He alone is mine. 



112 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


I fled and sought refuge with the saints and weptta 
see the world. I wept tears of love, and watered the* 
Tree of Imniortaiity. Now, He alone is mine. 

On the way, I met two good men, who alike had gone- 
mad after Him. I kept them over my head. Him I kept 
in my heart. Now, He alone is mine. 

I went to the root of things, and found nothing but 
Him alone. The Rana sent the cup of hemlock. I 
drank it up, and became drunken with love for the Lord.. 
Now, He alone is mine. 

The news is abroad. Every one knows, that Mira 
is His bond-slave, and He is her Lord. What was des- 
tined has come to pass. Now, He alone is mine. 

IV 

God is the Helper of the helpless and the Strength* 
of the weak. He stood by the side of the saints in their 
hour of trial. 

So long as the Lord of Elephants trusted in hjs own 
strength he was defeated. 

The moment he forgot his own strength, and in his 
weakness called upon the Lord, God was at hand to help 
him, — even before His name was half-uttered. 

Draupadi, in her helplessness, called upon the Lord. 

Duhshasana was worsted in his effort to unclothe 
her. For the Lord became her clothing. 

Try, as one may, the power of asceticism, or physi- 
cal or temporal might, a man is bound to fail. 

Verily, the strength of the defeated, says Sudras,, 
is the name of the Lord. 

V 

Lord, forbid it that I should cast my eyes on things 
that brings evil thoughts. Far better, that I were blind* 

Lord forbid it that I should foul my lips with any 



HYMNS OF MAHATMAJrS FAST 115 

words stained with filth. Far better, that they were 
sealed. 

Lord, forbid it that I should hear any word of in- 
jury to another or listen to a word of contempt. Far 
better, that I were deaf. 

Lord, forbid it that I should look with lust on those^ 
who should be sisters to me. Far better, that I were 
dead. 

Lord, let Taka flee from all this world of sense, to 
find eternal peace in Thee. 

VI 

It is devotion to the Lord that makes the world 
worth living in. 

Not to be found in paradise, the saints who went 
there covet to be born again on this earth that they may 
fulfil their devotion to the Lord. 

G-od’s men seek not freedom from birth and death : 
they ask to be born again and again, that they may 
serve and pray and praise and see the Lord face to face. 

Blessed are the parents of him, who was born in 
Bharatkhand, — the land of devotion to the Lord. He 
has sung the praise of God. He has justified his birth. 

Blessed was Brindaban, blessed the play of the 
Gopis, who were fortunate to live there. 

They achieved such union with the Lord, that all 
other achievements followed. Freedom from birth and 
death was at their bidding. 

Only the blessed ones have tasted this devotion to 
the Lord, Shankar knows it. Shuka, the born ascetic,, 
knows it. Happily, the Gopis of Braja know something 
of it, — so sings Narsaiyan, who has tasted it. 


8 



114 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


31st October, 1921. 

AN INTERESTING CONV'ERSATION 
By Mahadev Desai 

Early in the morning, after the usual reading of the 
Bhaguvat was over, Bapu sent for Mr. Andrews. He 
came in, singing to himself a hymn. Mr. Andrews takes 
great delight in trying to understand correctly the hymns 
sung at the prayers and then selecting exactly parallel 
hymns from Christian authors to demonstrate the close 
affinity between all God’s devotees on this earth. This 
very morning he said to me. “ In the face of such con- 
clusive proof of the essential oneness of all religions, 
how can anybody claim exclusive superiority of his 
own religion? The fact seems to be, that every man 
can find the satifaction of the needs of his spiritual life 
in the religion in which he was brought up.” When he 
came upstairs he said to Bapu “I am going to 
sing for you this morning a hymn, which I am sure you 
have, never heard before. A military officer, in the 
Bible, goes to Christ and prays for the recovery of a 
servant of his, who is lying ill at home. Christ offers 
to go and see tixe patient himself. But the officer, con- 
sidering himself utterly unworthy of so much special 
attention from the Lord, asks Him merely to express 
His wish that the patient should survive and he was 
sure that this would be enough. Such is the story that 
lies behind this hymn.” 

With tliis introduction, Mr, Andrews sang the 
hymn given below : — 

I am not worthy ; cold and bare 
The lodging of my soul; 



AN INTERESTING CONVERSATION 


115 


How canst thou deign to enter there ? 

Lord, speak and make me whole. 

“ How closely it resembles the hymn of Tulsidas you 
are so fond of! ” said Mr. Andrews, when he had finish- 
ed. Bapu answered, “ I have heard it before,” to the 
agreeable surprise of Mr. Andrews. I heard it ^ung in 
1893 ” continued Bapu, *‘I used to meet Christians of all 
denominations t’len in South Africa and I distinctly 
remember having lieard the hymn at the Sunday services 
which I used to attend.” Here he recalled some of his 
old reminiscence connected with his Christian friends, 
which I need not give here. This over, Bapu said, “ But 
I called you here for an entirely different reason. I wish 
you to understand properly the meaning of the Spinning 
Eranchice.” 

Then there followed a lengthy talk, an account 
of which I give here as accurately as possible : — 

Bapu : you did not like my article in the latest issue 
of Youvg India, But I tell you the argument is irresis- 
tible. You disapprove of my article, because you omit 
to take note of the concluding portion, where I make it 
clear that my appeal is addressed only to those who 
believe in voluntary spinning as an absolute necessity 
for the country. They should have no difficulty in 
accepting the condition of having to spin and contribute 
2000 yards of yarn. When you say you will spin volun- 
tarily, you should have no hesitation in readily join- 
ing an institution where the condition of membership is 
to ply the wheel. That is precisely why I said that in a 
country such as France, where extreme importance is 
attached to military training, it would *be perfectly 
legitimate to lay down military training as an indispen- 
sable condition of membership in its National Assembly 



116 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

If today in India we accept importance of spinning, we 
ought most naturally to agree to ifc as a condition of 
membership in the Congress. 

Andrews : Your point is very weak. That you 
should make any comparison with French military 
training is terrible ! I would rather go to jail or become 
an exile than join tlie army, even as Bertrand Russell 
did, or Romain Rolland, who left his country because he 
could not reconcile himself to fighting. 

Bapu : Yes, I too would do the same. That matters 
little. It is but right that conscientious objectors should 
stand by their principles and suffer the consequences* 
But if the whole country in general felt the necessity of 
military training, why should there be any objection to- 
giving it a place in the law of the land ? 

Andrews : I don’t think you should take the example 
about military training. You ought to have chosen a 
better analogy. You could certainly take the instance 
of the Prohibition Law of the United States. It was 
only when about 80 per cent of the population of America 
showed the readiness to abandon drink that the law was 
enacted. There is nothing to prevent your making 
about 80 per cent of the Indian population spin through 
a separate organisation of your own and then get spinn- 
ing adopted as a condition of membershipin the*National 
Assembly. As it is, you are placing the cart before the 
horse. 

Bapu : No. I am perfectly logical. Has an organisa- 
tion got the right to require its members to fulfil certain 
obligations, or has not? The thing may or may not 
appeal to the individual member, but you certainly can- 
not say that we have not the right to adopt it ? 

Andrews: In America everyone had the right to 



A3Sr INTERESTING CONVERSATION 


117 


drink before the Prohibition Law was passed. They have 
today the right to reintroduce drink by repealing the 
law. What I want to know is this : is the Congress the 
mouthpiece of public opinion, or of the opinion of a small 
body of men ? Will the Congress be a National Assem- 
bly, or a small Committee? 

Bapu : It will be a National Assembly. You are 
entitled to say that my experience is wrong. But once 
you concede that the Congress has the right to impose 
restrictions on its members, I would be able to convince 
you easily of the rest. 

Andrews : You must not make of the Congress a 
party organisation. It should be a voluntary elective 
body of the Nation. 

Bapu: You do not quite realise what Congress is. 
Today it happens to be an ill-defined and disorganised 
institution. There is much more in it than is apparent 
from its constitution. If the Congress is to be a truly 
democratic organisation, its constitution must be more 
dynamic, more honest. It must more truly fulfil the 
requirements of the nation. We don’t need numbers. 
When I secured the acceptance of the four anna fran- 
chise, I had hoped that the Congress would become a 
mighty assembly, but woi*kers were lacking. Our 
country today is a country of idlers and dreamers. I 
refer, not to the dumb millions, who are groaning under 
poverty and slavery, but to ourselves — the so-called 
intelligentsia, the talkers. How can I engage all these 
in some kind of national work except through the spinn- 
ing wheel ? In what other manner could the Congress 
be made a practical organisation. My hope is that this 
will come about by the 2000 yards a month spinning idea. 
As matters stand at present, we have nothing like 



118 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

concerted effort at all. One says, ‘ I shall wield the axe, 
another wants to sew, yet another would like to devote 
himself to something else dear to him. This leads to 
nowhere. I aim at concentrating all the energy and effort 
on one thing and obtaining substantial results. 

Andrews* I am afraid you are going to establish a 
new kind of religion, with spinning and wearing khaddar 
as its essential factor. Why should I be specially con- 
cerned with whether so and so wears khaddar or foreign- 
made cloth ? All I principally care to know is what the 
man is morally worth. Christ wanted us in judging a 
person to be guided by his heart and not by his outward 
appearance. 

Bapu: Theie is a difference between Christian and 
Hindu ideals. 

Andrews : You might as well say that if I ate a 
particular diet I would gain spiritually. I simply can- 
not understand that. Take such a saint as the late 
Bishop Westcott of Durham. He took meat; but it 
does not follow therefore that he was unspiritual. 

Bapu: Hard cases make bad law You cannot 
preach to the generality of people asking them to eat 
what they like, and yet continue to believe that they 
are pure. 

Andrews ; But I will come to the original objection- 
Are we sincerely making serious attempts to prepare 
the ground, as they did in America before prohibiting 
drink by law ? 

Bapu : I am ever preparing the ground. We are 
today what we are because of four years’ strenuous work- 
The Congress long ago accepted the importance of spinn- 
ing. Moreover, the conditions in the two countries are 
different. America was a ‘wet’ country. There, the 



AN INTERESTING CONVERSATION 119 

people had to be weaned from drinking. They had to 
do something they never did before. Here, all that is 
wanted is ihat the people should revert to an art, which 
was theirs for ages, but which has been neglected for 
some time past. That is all. Furthermore, here he 
quoted a sloka from the Gita which literally translated 
means , “No sincere effort is wanted and there is no ban 
against sincere effort. The least performance of this 
duty saves you from calamities.” 

Andrews : Why do you say so ? There is waste in 
it. We are all fitted for different kinds of work. We 
may be so preoccupied with other work as not to find 
even half an hour’s time for spinning. I notice Maha- 
dev sitting up even at midnight to do his spinning. I 
also saw Maulana Mahomed Ali busy spinning even at 
midnight during the conference and then I wonder to 
what purpose all this could be. 

Bapu : That these friends have to do their spinning 
at midnight merely suggests unmethodical habits, and 
want of the ‘time-sense’ ; that is all. 

Andrews Apart from the half an hour imposition, 
I feel that other things have been thrown into the back- 
ground since you began to talk of concentration on 
spinning. So much energy is taken up in khaddar work 
that the urgent need of checking the drink and drug 
evils is practically overlooked. 

Bapu : In recommending spinning my sole idea has 
been to place before the country a programme, which 
would easily appeal to the common mind and also be a 
unifying force. It excludes nothing. Picketing of 
liquor shops was given up because of the fear of violence, 
not in order to concentrate on khaddar. It is not 
necessary to lay so much emphasis on the other items of 



120 


HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 


the programme as on khaddar. All agree that drink 
should be avoided. There is nothing new in this to tell 
the people. There will be some who will continue to 
drink even though Swaraj is established. These must 
be tackled after Swaraj. 

Andrews : Is not a strenuous movement for the 
abolition of the opium traffic immediately called for ? 
The country is convinced that it is. 

Bapu : I believe it. 

Andrews : Are you aware that women labourers in 
the mills drug their babies with opium ? 

Bapu: Yes, but don’t say that the thing has begun 
to eat into our vitals. Don’t imagine that the country 
will allow it to gain more ground. As for the babies, 
you have the question of education of the labourers, the 
question of medical aid, the question of the number of 
hours for which women labourers should be made to 
work and numerous other questions connected with their 
protection. 

Andrews: When you settled upon the threefold 
programme of untouchability, Hindu-Muslim unity and 
khaddar, and left out the question of drink it struck me 
as a sad omission. 

Bapu : No. I never forget it. There is really nothing 
new to tell the people about it. 

Andrews : Rather, it has become impossible to get 
the people to take interest in the opium question. 

Bapu: For the matter of that if you and I stopped 
writing about South and East Africa nobody would 
worry about the condition of the Indians there either. 
We are dealirtg with people who know nothing. But 
you must remember that work for the prevention of 
drink is still going on. Wherever khaddar has gained a 



AN INTERESTING CONVERSATION 121 

footing the whole process of purification has begun. 
You could realise this if you went to Borsad or to 
Ramesra or Bardoli. Temperance work and the condi- 
tions of social life in the villages mainly occupy the 
attention of our workers wherever a khaddar centre 
exists. 

Andrews; But why make the wearing of khaddar 
and spinning a religious duty ? Will not the people boy- 
cott those that are daring enough not to wear khaddar 
or to spin ? 

Bapu : Well, it must be a religious duty. Are you 
sure every Indian will occupy himself usefully in the 
service of the country, simply if I cease to insist on 
making spinning a religious duty ? Yet, that does not at 
all mean that persons not wearing khaddar or not 
spinning should be boycotted. On the contrary, it would 
be our duty to embrace them and win them ultimately to 
the side of khaddar by our love, certainly not by talking 
or thinking ill of them. I have suffered the penance of 
a twenty-one days’ fast simply because we fell from this 
standard. Will not the people still understand ? True 
boycott can only be of one kind, that of refusal to accept 
personal service and denying oneself the advantages of 
association with the person so dealt with, while being 
ever ready to render him help in case of need. [ would 
welcome that kind of boycott in the case of a person 
addicted to drink, but not in the case of those who don’t 
wear khaddar. For there is certainly not that sin in 
wearing foreign cloth as in drink. 

Andrews : You make me feel more at ease. I am 
glad you have cleared these points. Only, I don’t like 
the idea of your making khaddar a test of moral fitness. 
A friend writes to me to say that he has given up wear- 



122 HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 

ing khaddar because it has become a cheap method of 
popularity. 

Bapu • The friend makes a mistake. Am I to cease 
doing what I think proper because another person 
makes a pretence of doing that thing? That would be 
like my giving up speaking the truth because some 
people feign truth. 

Andrews: But can’t you eliminate the expressions 
shudJia and ashudha from the khaddar terininolgy ! 

Bapu : I should certainly use these terms in con- 
nection with cloth. Foreign cloth for an Indian to wear 
would be impure. I would not apply this to the case of 
the Indians in England, for instance ; yet just as a man 
is not an impure being simply because he wears impure* 
cloth, so also a person leading an impure life does not 
purify himself because he wears pure clothes. The 
economic value of what I call shudha cloth i.e. khaddar, 
is always there ; that is why even a prostitute may wear 
pure khaddar and help to that extent to keep out 
foreign cloth. 

Andrews : I don’t see how you can call foreign- 
made cloth ‘impure.’ 

Bapu : I know that. We must agree to differ there. 
Air gathered from the plains of Delhi would be an im- 
pure commodity to be inhaled in Simla. It is in this 
sense that I call foreign-made cloth ashudha i. e. impure. 

Andrews : But I don’t see that. I am, however, 
glad you have explained so many other things. 

Before the fast, such talks were quite frequent Vvitb 
Gandhi ji, which he engaged in with everybody. But 
after the fast, barring the discussions with Pandit Motilal 
Nehru, this was the first long discussion of an impoi't- 
ant and serious character. 



THE LATEST FAST 


123 * 


3rd, December, 1925 
THE LATEST FAST 
By M. K. Ga>tdhi 

This the latest {seven days’) fast of mine which is 
closing tomorrow morning could not be kept from the 
public in spite of my attempt to the contrary. It has 
brought many inquiries and some angry protests. 

The public many rest perfectly at ease about my 
health. It is something for me to be able to write thi«- 
myself on the seventh day of my fast. But by the time 
this is in the hands of the reader, 1 hope to be almost 
up and doing. 

The alarm was felt on the fourth day when I was 
much exhausted with work. In my vanity. I had 
thought that during the comparatively brief fast 1 would 
be able to work all the full seven days. In fairness to 
myself I must say that much of the work I did during 
the three and a half days was inevitable as it was 
connected with tiie object of the fast. But as soon as I 
realised that I had overworked myself, I stopped all 
work, and on the last day I am stronger than on the 
fourth. 

But the public will have to neglect my fasts and 
cease to worry about them. They are a part of my 
being. I can as well do without my eyes, for instance, 
as I can without fasts. What the eyes are for outer 
world, fasts are for the inner. And much as I should 
like the latest fast to be the very last in my life, some- 
thing within me tells me that I might have to go 
through many such ordeals and, who knows, much more 
trying. I may be wholly wrong. Then the world will 



124 THE FAST 

■be able to write an epitaph 'over my ashes : ‘Well 
deserved thou fciol. ’ But foi* the time being my error, 
if it be one, must sustain me. Es it not better that I 
satisfy my conscience though misguided, because not 
perfectly pure, than that I should listen to every voice, 
be it ever so friendly but by no means infallible ? If I 
had a gurur^nd. I am looking for one,-! should sur- 
render myself body and soul to him. But in this age of 
unbelief a true gu7'u is hard to find. A substitute will 
be worse than useless, often positively harmful. I must 
therefore warn all against accepting imperfect ones as 
^urus. It is better to grope in the dark and wade 
through a million errors to Truth than to entrust oneself 
-to one who knows not that he knows not. ” Has a 
man ever learnt swimming by tying a stone to bis neck? 

And who shall lose by erroneous fasting? Of course 
-only myself. But I am public property, it is said. So 
be it. But I must be taken with all my faults. I am a 
searcher after truth. My experiments I hold to be 
infinitely more important than the best-equipped 
Himalayan expeditions. And the results ? If the 
•search is scientific, surely there is no comparison 
between the two. Let me therefore go my way. I shall 
lose my usefulness the moment I stifle the still small 
■voice within. 

Well, this fast has nothing to do with the public. 
I am conducting a big institution called the Satyagrah- 
•ashram. Trusting friends have given me already over 
■two lacs of rupees for land and building alone. They 
are paying for its annual upkeep not less than eighteen 
thousand rupees per year. They do so in the hope that 
J[ am building up character. There are grown up men 
and women in the Ashram. There are boys and girls. 



THE LATEST FAST 


125 ‘ 


The latter are trained to remain unmarried as long as 
possible. At no place within my knowledge do women 
and girls enjoy so much freedom as at the Ashram. It 
is my best and only creation- The world will judge me 
by its results. Ho man or woman, no boy or girl can 
live there, if I do not want them. I believe that it 
contains some of the purest character we have in India. 
If I am to deserve the implicit trust of friends who 
support it, I must be doubly vigilant, since they will 
neither examine the accounts, nor the activity of the- 
Ashram. I discovered errors among the boys and some- 
what among the girls. I know that hardly a school or 
any other institution is free from the errors I am^ 
referring to. I am anxious to see the Ashram free from' 
errors which are sapping the manhood of the nation and 
undermining the character of the youth. It was not. 
permissible to punish the boys. Experience gained in- 
two schools under my control has taught me that 
punishment does not purify, if anything it hardens- 
children. In such cases in South Africa I have resorted 
to fasts with, in my opinion, the best of results. I have 
resorted to the same process here and let me say of a 
milder type. The basis of the action is mutual love. I 
know that I possess the love of the boys and the giris. I 
know too that if the giving up of my life can make them 
spotless, it would be my supreme joy to give it. There- 
fore I could do no less to bring the youngsters to a sense 
of their error. So far the results seem to be promising.. 

What, however, if I cannot perceive fruit? lean 
but do the will of God as I feel it. The result is in His> 
disposing. This suifering for things great and small is 
the keynote of Satyagraha. 

But why should not the teachers perform the* 



126 


THE FAST 


penance? They cannot, so long as I remain the chief. 
If they had fasted with me all work would have come to 
a standstill. As with big institutions so with small ones. 
As the king must share the sins of his subjects even as 
he arrogates to himself all their virtues, so must I, a 
■tiny chosen king in the little Ashram, atone for the sins 
of the least among tlie children of the Ashram, if I may 
proudly claim the presence in it of many noble charac- 
ters. If I am to identify myself with the grief of the least 
in India, aye; if I have the power, the least in the world, 
let me identify myself with the sins of the little ones 
who are under my care. And so doing in all humility 
I hope some day to see God — Truth — face to face. 

— 3C~ll-25. 


10th DeceinbeVy 1925 
THE BREAKING OP THE FAST 
By M. K. Gandhi 

Friends who are interested in my health will be 
iglad to learn that, if I lost nine pounds during the seven 
days’ fast, I have regained up to the seventh day after 
the breaking of the fast over six pounds in weight. I am 
■even able to take moderate exercise and go through a 
fair amount of work everyday. By the time this is out, 
I shall find myself in Wardha where I propose to take 
as much rest as possible up to the time of the meeting 
of the Congress. May I, therefore, ask C. P. and other 
friends not to regard me as being in Wardha on busi- 
ness? It will tax all niy energy to attend to my weekly 
editing and daily correspondence. I hope to regain 
much of the lost strength by the time I reach Cawnpore. 



THE LESSON OP THE PAST 


127 


10th December, 1925 
THE LESSON OP THE PAST 
By Mahadeva Desai 

In his article last week on ' The latest fast’ 
Gandhiji has explained the genesis of the fast. It was 
important alike for the boys for whose benefit it was 
undertaken as for the siiilent world and equally impor- 
tant for those in charge of the education of the young. I 
shall summarise the lesson in Gandhijis own words. 

Before breaking his fast on the morning of the 1st 
December he gathered the boys to his bedside and deli- 
vered the following message in slow, moving, accents: 

‘‘Think of last Tuesday, when I began my fast. 
Why did I take that step ? There were three ways open 
to me: 

(1) Punishment, I could have followed the easy 
road of corporal punishment. Usually a teacher on 
detecting errors on the part of pupils would flatter him- 
self with having done a good thing if he punished them. 
I have been a teacher, myself, though my preoccupations 
prevent me from teaching you during these days. As a 
teacher I had no option but to reject this accepted 
method for I know by experience it is futile and even 
harmful. (2) Indifference, 1 could have left you to your 
fate. Not unoften does a teacher do so. ‘It is enough ’ 
he argues, ‘ that the boys do their lessons tolerably well 
and reproduce what they are taught. Surely, I am not 
concerned with their private behaviour. And even if I 
was how am I to keep watch over them ?’ This indiffe- 
rence could not appeal to me. (3) The third was the 
method of Love. Your character is to me a sacred trust. 
I must therefore try to enter into your lives, your inner- 



128 


THE FAST 


most thoughts, your desires and your impulses, and 
help you to detect and eradicate purities if any. For 
inward cleanliness is the first thing that should be 
taught, other things must follow after the first and most 
important lesson has gone home. I discovered irregulari- 
ties amongst you. What was I to do? Punishing you 
was out of the question. Being the chief among the 
teachers, I had to take the punishment on myself in the* 
form of the fast which breaks today. 

“I have learnt a lot during these days of quite 
thinking. What have you? Could you assure me that 
you will never repeat your mistake ? You may err again 
but this fast will be lost on you if you do not realise the 
way out of it. Truthfulness is the masfcer-key. Do not 
lie under any circumstances whatsoever. Keep nothing 
secret, take your teachers and your elders into your 
confidence and make a clean breast of every thing to 
them. Bear ill-will to none, do not say an evil thing of 
any one behind his back, above all ‘to thine own-self 
be true’, so that you are false to no one else. Truthful 
dealing even in the least little things of life is the only 
secret of a pure life. 

“ You must have noticed that I receive my in- 
spiration on such occasions from the hymn ‘ Voishnava 
Jan to tene kuhiye ’ (He is the true Vaishnava etc.) That 
hymn is enough to sustain me, even if I were to forget 
the Bhagawad Gita. To tell you the truth, however,, 
there is one thing which is even simpler, but which may 
possibly be difficult for you to understand. But that has 
been ray pole star all along during life’s journey — the 
conviction that Truth is God and untruth a denial of 
Him.’ 



THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF FASTING 129 


17th December j 1925 

THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF FASTING 
BY M. K Gandhi 

A medical friend who believes in fasting cure under 
certain circumstances invites me to reduce to writing 
the physical effects of fasting as I might have observed 
them. As they are not inconsiderable and as I know 
many cases in which people who fasted have done 
themselves harm, “I gladly comply with the medical 
friend’s request. Though almost all my fasts have 
been undertaken for a moral purpose, being an invete- 
rate diet reformer and a believer in fasting as a cure for 
many obstinate diseases, I have not failed to. note their 
physical effects. I must, however, confess that I have 
not made any accurate observations for the simple 
reason that it was not possible for me to combine the 
two. I was much too pre-occupied with the moral values 
to note or mind the physical. I can therefore only give 
the general impressions. For accurate observations I 
can only refer the reader to Dr. Ansari and Abdur 
Rahman who were my medical guides throughout the 
long fast of last year. They were most painstaking. 
They were constantly by my bed-side and had thrown 
themselves heart and soul into the work of looking after 
me. 

Let me at the outset note a disaster that befell me 
after the second long fast, that is, of fourteen days, in 
South Africa in 1914. Almost on the second day of the 
breaking of the fast I began strenuous walking, feeling 
that I should come to no harm. I walked nearly three 
miles, the second or the third day, and “suffered excru- 
9 



130 


YOUNG INDIA 


dating pains in the muscle-less calves. Not knowing 
the cause T persisted in walking as soon as the pain 
subsided. It was in this condition that I left South 
Africa for England and came under the observation of 
Dr. Jivraj Mehta, who warned me that if I persisted I 
might be a cripple for life and that I must lie in bed for 
at least a fortnight. But the warning was too late to 
keep my general health, which used to be excellent 
such that I was capable of taking a forty mile march 
without being over-fatigued. Twenty miles in a day 
was nothing for me in those days. It was as a result of 
the strain I ignorantly put upon my body that I had to 
suffer from a violent attack of pleurisy which perma- 
nently injured a constitution that was fairly sound. It 
was the first serious attack of any disease in my life. 
From this very costly experiment I learned that perfect 
physical rest during fast and for a time proportionate 
to the length of the fast, after the breaking of it, is a 
necessity, and if this simple rule can be observed no 
evU effect of fasting need be feared. Indeed, it is my 
conviction that the body gains by a well-regplated fast. 
For during fasting the body gets rid of many of its im- 
purities. During the last year’s fast, as during this year, 
but unlike the previous fast, I took water with salt and 
bi-carbonate of soda added to it. Somehow or other I 
•develop during fasts a distaste for water. With the 
addition of salt and soda it becomes somewhat bearable. 
I found that drinking copious draughts of water kept 
the system clean and the mouth moist. To every six 
to eight ounces of water five grains, of salt and an equal 
quantity of soda were added, and I drank during the 
day from forty to forty-eight ounces of water, in six to 
eight doses. I took also regularly every day an enema 



THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF FASTING 131 


containing nearly three quarters of a pint of water with 
nearly forty grains of salt and nearly an equal quantity 
•of soda dissolved in it. The water was always warm. 
I had also a sponge bath every day given to me in bed. 
I had both during last year’s and this year’s fast refresh- 
ing sleep at night and at least an hour during the day 
time. For three days and a half during the last fast, I 
worked practically from 4 o’clock in the morning till 8 
o’clock in the evening, holding discussions on the ques- 
tion that had entailed the fast, and attending to my 
correspondence and editing. On the fourth day I develop- 
ed a violent headache and the strain was proving 
unbearable. In the afternoon of the fourth day I 
■stopped all work. The following day I felt recuperated, 
the feeling of exhaustion was gone, head-ache had almost 
subsided. On the sixth day, I felt fresher still and on 
the seventh day which was also my silent day I felt so 
fresh and strong that I was able to write with a steady 
hand my article on the fast. 

I am not aware during the whole of the fast of hav- 
ing suffered any pangs of hunger. Indeed on the day of 
breaking the fast I was in no hurry, I broke it half an 
hour later than I need have. There was no difficulty 
during the fast about spinning. I was able to sit up 
every day for over half an hour with a pillow to support 
the back, and spin almost with my usual speed. Nor 
did I have to miss any of the three daily prayer-meetings. 
During the last four days I had to be carried on a cot to 
these meetings. With an effort I could even have sat up 
at the meetings, but I thought it better to conserve my 
•energy. I am not conscious of having suffered much 
physical pain. The only pain which the memory has 
stored is a ' feeling of nausea, creeping over me now 



132 YOUNG INDIA 

and then, which was as a rule overcome by sipping 
water. 

I broke the fast on orange-juice and grape-juice, 
about six ounces altogether, and I sucked the pulp of 
an orange. I repeated the performance two hours* 
after, adding ten grapes, which too were slowly sucked, 
leaving out all the skin. Later in the day and after the 
enema, I had six ounces of goat’s milk with two ounces 
of water, followed by an orange and ten grapes. The 
milk and water were boiled. I had the same quantity 
of milk and water again in the evening, and fruit. The 
next day the quantity of milk was raised to eighteen 
ounces, water always added, and thus I continued to* 
increase the quantity of milk by six ounces every day, 
till I reached forty-eight ounces/ Milk is still diluted 
with water, though now one ounce of water is added to* 
each portion. For one day and a half I tried undiluted 
milk, but I noticed a certain heaviness, which I attribute* 
to undiluted milk and have therefore gone back to 
diluting it. 

At the time of writing these notes it is the twelfth 
day after the breaking of the fast. I have not yet 
taken any solid food. Part of the fruit is still turned 
into juice and during the past three days I have added 
to grapes and oranges either papaw or pomegranate and 
chiku. The largest quantity of milk I have taken is. 
sixty-four ounces. The average is forty-eight. I add 
at times baker’s bread or home-made light chapati. But 
for months together I have been living simply on milk 
and fruit and keeping myself in a fit condition. 

My highest weight since my discharge from prison 
has been 112 lbs. The weight lost during the seven 
days of fast was 9 lbs. I have now regained the whole* 



THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OP FASTING 1:53 


of that weight and am now weighing a little over 
103 lbs. For the last three days, I have taken regular 
■exercise, both in the morning and evening, without the 
slightest fatigue. There is no difficulty in walking on 
level ground. There is still some strain felt in ascend- 
ing or descending steps. The bowels move fairly regu- 
larly, and I sleep almost to order. 

My own opinion is that I have lost physically 
nothing as a result either of the twenty one days’ fast 
or this the latest seven days’ fast. The loss of weight 
during the seven days was no doubt somewhat alarm- 
ing. but ifc was clearly due to the severe strain that was 
put upon the constitution during the first three and a 
half days. A little more rest, and I should regain my 
original vitality with which I started the fast and pro- 
bably regain without difficulty the weight and strength 
lost in Cutch. 

From a layman’s and from a purely physical stand- 
point I should lay down the following rules for all those 
who may wish to fast on any account whatsoever , 

1. Conserve your energy both physical and mental 
from the very beginning. 

2. You must cease to think of food whist you are 
fasting. 

3. Drink as much cold water as you can, with or 
without soda and salt, but in small quantities at a time 
(water should be boiled, strained and cooled). Do not 
be afraid of salt and soda, because most waters contain 
both these salts in a free state. 

4. Have a warm sponge daily. 

5. Take an enema regularly during fast. You will 
be surprised at the impurities you will expel daily. 

6. Sleep as much as possible in the open air. 



134 


YOUNG INDIA 


7. Bathe in the morning sun. A sun and air bath 
is at least as great a purifier as a water bath. 

8. Think of anything else but the fast. 

9. No matter from what motive you are fasting^ 
during this precious time, think of your Maker, and of 
your relation to Him and His other creation, and 
you will make discoveries you may not have even 
dreamed of. 

With apologies to medical friends, but out of the 
fulness of my own experience and that of fellow-cranks 
I say without hesitation, fast (1) if you are constipated, 
(2) if you are anaemic, (3) if you are feverish, (4) if 
you have indigestion, (5) if you have a head-ache, 
(6) if you are rheumatic, (7) if you are gouty, (8) if you 
are fretting and foaming, (9) if you are depressed, (10) if 
you are over-joyed ; and you will avoid medical prescrip- 
tions and patent medicines. 

Eat when you are Imngry and when you have 
laboured fox your food. 


17th December^ 1925 
AFTER THE FAST 
BY Mahadev Desai 

It will be remembered that the first public function 
that Gandhiji attended after the breaking of the latest 
fast was the Gujarat Yidyapith Convocation on the 
fifth instant. There was another function on the same 
day — the Vidyalaya Social — where also he presided. 
Nothing could be quieter than these functions, and 
speeches which were shortness itself were read by deputy. 



AFTER THE FAST 135 

The message of the first speech could be summed up in 
these lines : 

‘ If in the trough of the enormous sea, 

Thou canst not find the sky for spray, 

Fear never, for thy Sun is there with thee, 

By night and day.’ 

Find that of the second in the last words of the 
speech itself : 'Remember that God is described as the 
Holder of the threads of the Universe. There is a 
world of meaning in that pregnant description. Would 
you not draw the thread in his name and for the poor of 
your land ?’ 

The next day was an engagement we had all dreaded 
and tried our best to dissuade Gandhiji from accepting. 
It was the visit to Dholka. True, it was long overdue. 
But a visit to a place like that, it was feared, could 
hardly be peaceful, for the crowds from villages 
would be more than the nerves could bear. But that 
engagement could not be cancelled, maintained Gandhiji. 
‘ I must face it all, if only to satisfy that quiet worker 
Dahyabahi whom I have been giving promises all these 
months, ’ he said. And we obeyed, and found that it 
was right that we did so. 

The arrangements left nothing to be desired. There 
was no noisy crowd, but a peaceful gathering, standing 
in an orderly fashion, at the station, no noise or shouts, 
and no procession. Men and women came in to see 
Gandhiji, and went away, without the slightest hubbub. 
There was a women’s meeting where there was not 
much Khaddar in evidence, but commendable quiet for a 
big gathering like that. After the brief speech, which 
had to be repeated sentence by sentence, the good 
women came one by one and presented their mites for 



136 


YOUNG INDIA 


the Deshabandhu Memorial Fund. The public meeting 
in the evening was also equally quiet. Representatives 
from neighbouring villages presented their little purses 
and a substantial purse (substantial for Dholka) on 
behalf of the place proper was also presented. The pro- 
ceedings commenced with Ttama-dhun (repeating of 
Rama-namo) led by the blind poet Hansraj and after 
the presentation of the address and the purses a short 
message from Gandhiji was read out to the meeting. 
It could be summed up in a few sentences : I am thank- 
ful that inspite of my physical inablity, God has enabled 
me to keep my promise to pay you a visit. I hear that 
there are many Talukdars here. I hope they will culti- 
vate and maintain sweet relations with their tenants. I 
am told there is no Hindu-Muslim tension here. Let the 
relations be more friendly than they are. How am I to 
convince you that spinning and exclusive use of Khad- 
dar is the swiftest way to swaraj? A yard of Khaddar 
used by you means four or five annas in the pockets of 
your poor countrymen. I wish I could also carry home 
to you my conviction that to regard any human being 
as ‘untouchable’ is to insult one self and one’s religion. 
It is the evil passions in us that are untouchable and 
let us be rid of them. Purify yourselves and spin half 
an hour daily as a sacrifice, if you think spinning need 
not add to your income. Spin in the name of God and 
spin for the poor of your land.’ 

There was no argument, no hard word, not even the 
language of persuasion. Not that he could not have 
dictated a longer speech, or an appeal of the usual type, 
but he did not think it worthwhile. The simple brevity 
was more eloquent than a passionate appeal. ‘I have 
given my message. You cannot have a new or fresh 



AFTER THE FAST 


137 


message from me. Carry out that message and let me 
know the results’ — that is the general message he would 
like to address to all. 

There was similar function at Bombay. The teachers 
of the National Anglo-Gujarati School are struggling 
against tremendous odds; to keep the school going they 
voluntarily agreed to a reduction of Rs. 15 monthly from 
their already slender salaries. The Principal takes no 
salary at all. The dramatic performances arranged did 
oredit both to the teachers and the pupils. The dia- 
logues — selected or prepared ad hoc — were all good, and 
there was no jar, except that created by the foreign 
dresses of the actors in the performances. Gandhiji 
made here even a briefer speech than elsewhere. He 
•could have appealed to the people for funds, appealed to 
them to maintain the school at all costs. But no. He 
«imply referred to the sacrifice of the teachers and 
suggested to them to discard foreign dresses in future. 
Eorhe knew that the teachers are iu earnest, and pre- 
pared to maintain the school at all sacrifices. To the 
parents there was no new message to give. Enough if 
they knew that over and above their obvious interest in 
the education of their boys and their duty not to go back 
•pn a forward step they took four years ago, they owed 
something to these self-sacrificing teachers. 

And two considerations arise out of these quiet 
functions. The most obvious one is that when necessi- 
ty arises, and when we appreciate the necessity, we can 
maintain enough order and quiet. Why should not we 
maintain that order and quiet on all occasions — not only 
when Gandhiji or any other public leader is weak or 
ailing, but even when they are in the best of health ? 
The consideration which is not so obvious but no less 



138 


YOUNG INDIA 


important is, need we trouble Gandhiji to undertake his 
tours any more? Could we not work away quietly for a 
half year or even a year, report our progress regularly 
through our leaders or representatives, send them to 
Sabarmati if necessary for consultations, and only at 
the end of a serious effort at the fulfilment of the pro- 
gramme, invite Gandhiji to see the result of the effort 
and make suggestions, if any? 


THE UNITY CONFERENCE. 

In consequence of Hindu Muslim riots in various; 
parts of the country culminating in what is known as. 
the Kohat Tragedy, of which some details are given else- 
where the attention of the leaders was concentrated on^ 
the problem of Unity. Prof. Rushbrook Williams thus- 
describes the origin and the proceedings of the Unity 
Conference held at Delhi in his book India-in 1924-25 : 

Mr. Gandhi gave a lead to the country by declaring that on 
September 18th he would begin a fast of three weeks, in penance for 
the responsibility which he himself acknowledged for the manner in 
which his campaign had fomented bitter feelings. From several 
quarters came the suggestion that a Unity Conference should be- 
summoned to focus all sections of opinion upon the evil of communal 
■disturbances. This conference ultimately met in Delhi on September 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE A.T DELHI 13» 


26th, and was attended by Hindus, Mussalmans, Parsees, Sikhs, 
and Christians. A considerable number of Englishmen were 
present including, among others the Metropolitan of India. 
The difficulties to be encountered were enormous. Communal 
tension was, as already stated, acute ; and there was a general 
disposition on the part of important sections of opinion to insist 
upon their rights regardless of consequences. Even among those 
political leaders who were pledged to promote unity between 
the two communities, dissensions shortly manifested themselves ; 
and only at the cost of infinite patience and labour were a series 
of resolutions drafted and accepted, laying down the basis upon 
which the problem of communal dissensions might be approached. 
These resolutions proclaimed it to be improper for any person who 
considered his religious feelings affronted take the law into his own 
hands. All differences should be referred to arbitration and failing 
that, to the courts. The universal toleration of religious beliefs, and 
freedom of expression and practice, with due regard to the feelings of 
others, was proclaimed. Upon the crucial question of cow-killing a 
resolution was passed admonishing the Hindus of the impossibility of 
stopping the practice by force alone. Muhammadans were advised 
to exercise their rights with as little offence to the Hindus as possi- 
ble ; while the Mussulman leaders of the Conference personally 
pledged themselves to do everything in their power to reduce the 
number of cows annually slaughtered. Other resolutions discouraged 
the practice of disturbing rival communities by music, calling to 
prayer and the like without regard to conflicting susceptibilities. 
The Conference also established an All-India Panchayat of 15 persons,, 
including Christians and Sikhs as well as Hindus and Muhammadans,, 
whose task it was to appoint local Panchayats for the purpsse of con- 
ciliation between two communities. Unfortunately, the Unity, 
Conference has produced little practical result and the All-India 
Panchayat seems still born. This, however, regrettable, is hardly 
surprising. The atmosphere amidst which the deliberations were 
conducted was ill suited to any clear-cut remedy for the Hindu- 
Mussalman problem. It seems difficult, however, to deny that the 
solution of this vexed question must ultimately lie along the liaes- 
laid down at the Delhi Conference. 



140 


YOUNG INDIA. 


THE ‘ UNITY ’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 

A collection of views about the Conference publish- 
•ed in Young India are given below : 

9th October, 1924 

WHERE IT WAS WANTING 

BY MAHADEO DESAI 

‘Repent! Repent! Though ye have gone 

Through paths of wickedness and woe; 

And though your sms be red as scarlet 

They shall be white as snow. ’ 

It is not easy to speak about the deliberations and the results of 
-the Unity Conference. It may be admitted at once that it did not 
meet m vain, though some of the resolutions, especially the one which 
was regarded as the main resolution, namely number 4, do not strike 
•one as conceded from the heart, and smack of the treaty-terms 
wrested by one party from another, yet the sure achievement 
of the conference consists in the unanimous acceptance of resolutions 
S, and 3 — the one ruling out Force absolutely as a remedy for 
communal strife; the other proposing the formation of a National 
.Panchayat, If every member of the Conference tries by every means 
in his power to follow this resolution ruling out Force, the object of 
i;he Conference might be achieved. 

Two more facts may be noted. It must be said to the credit of 
ihe Conference, that it had done nothing under the pressure of the 
fast. The fact that the long and weary discussions fructified into 
resolutions, which, however inadequate, satisfied all parties, does 
indicate a desire for Unity, which has replaced the former distrust of 
Unity, the want of faith, both in the possibility and the efficacy of 
TTnity, 

For this result, the Conference is mainly indebted to the efforts 
K)f Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Pandit Motilal Nehru and Swami 
.Shraddhanadji. It may be said without fear of contradiction, that 
without Maulana Abul Kalam Azad the second and to my mind the 
most important resolution might not have been passed in its present 



THE ‘UNITY* CONFERENCE AT DELHI 141 


form ; that without Swami Shraddhand ji*s and Pandit Malaviyaji’s 
readiness “to agree with thine adversary quickly ” no resolution would 
have been passed; that a less patient and tactful President might* 
easily have got sick of the whole business and dissolved the Conference 
m bitter impatience. 

More than this, I am afraid, cannot be said. The Conference was* 
an indication of the desire for Unity, but not of the will for it. The 
will can only come out of a “ broken and contrite heart which “ the 
Lord will not despise. ” 

I am afraid the whole significance of the fast was, m a way, lost 
upon the Conference. It was not undertaken to get the two 
communites to meet and frame a set of resolutions ; it was not- 
undertaken with a view to get promises of better relations. It was- 
taken mainly as a penance. It was truly the outcome of “ a broken 
and contrite heart. ” In so far as it was meant to be a prayer, it was 
meant to evoke the spirit of true repentance in everyone’s heart. 
For everyone of us had sadly betrayed the cause. 

Was the Conference an expression of true repentance? Gandhijidfd' 
want us to do penance, not by fasting, but by “retracing our steps.’'* 
“Sacrifice and meat-offering Thou desirestnot ; 

Else would I give it Thee. 

A broken and contrite heart, O Lord, 

Thou wilt not despise. ” 

Have we retraced our steps ? Most of the resolutions passed and’ 
those also proposed, but wisely ruled out by the President, were 
more in the nature of demands for the reduction of armaments than 
for the stoppage of all war. There is no doubt repentance in the first 
part of the second resolution, which was supported most ably and mov- 
ingly by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. There was unquestionably the 
sacred flame of repentance in the words of Maulana Shaukat Ali 
when he addressed the house at the close. But the spirit of repentance*^ 
did not seem to me to pervade the atmosphere. No one will argue 
that nothing had happened for which we need repent. Sacred 
person and property had been violated; sacred shrines had been 
desecrated ; hearts, more sacred than shrines and truer houses of 
God, had been broken. A cry ought to have gone out, the echoes of 
which should have reverberated from every nook and corner of the 
land. That lacerated soul’s outcry was wanting. 

Because it was wanting, there was also lacking the courage of 



142 


YOUNG INDIA 


^conviction, which counts no cast ; which stands out only against kith 
and kin, but against the whole world. With that courage comes the 
will for union, for heart unity, the true will for Swaraj. 

But the sacred flame is still burning from which we may yet 
ccatch a spark. 


BENEATH THE RIDGE 

BY 0. F. ANDREWS 

At the foot of the Ridge at Delhi, on the farther side away from 
the city, is a house called Dil Khush, where Mahatma Gandhi has 
been keeping his fast. Above the house, stands out the histone 
Ridge itself with its immemorial ruins telling of battles in days gone 
by. 

From the terrace on the upper storey there can be seen ruined 
buttresses and walls, and not far away from them Asoka*s Pillar 
points its finger to the sky. Further on, a * Mutiny Memorial * 
disfigures the landscape with its ugly proportions. In the darkness 
of the night, these landmarks stand out in the star-light and against 
the Moon. Between the Ridge top and Dil Khush are the golf-links 
where lines of motor cars, in the Delhi season, block the road each 
afternoon, while the golfers play their round of golf. 

Mahatma Gandhi had called me to the terrace on the upper 
.storey one afternoon. Some musicians had come, and he wished me to 
hear to music. It was one of his worst days ; his weakness was 
-extreme. A boy was singing softly at the far end of the terrace. As 
I passed Mahatmaji in order to sit down and listen to the music, I 
could not but take note how drawn his face was with pain. The 
sight renewed my anxiety, and at first I hardly listened to the music. 
The Sun was setting in the west, and shafts of light were pouring 
from it, piercing the open glades where the golfers were playing. The 
rocks and ruins on the hill-top were flushed with crimson and gold. 

The beauty at last arrested me and soothed my inner fears ; and 
then I saw a vision. There seemed to come before my imagination the 
whole story of the past. That Pillar, with its edict of toleration and 
non-violence, brought to my mind the Buddhist Age and the saintly 
King Asoka. The people of the land were kindly and tolerant towards 
man and beast alike. It was a golden age of peace. 

But those fortress ruins, and that Mutiny Memorial told me of 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 143 


another chapter in human history, filled with bloodshed and bitter 
strife. On that evening, the sun was setting peacefully in the west ; 
but all through the previous night the Bidge had been lashed by rain 
and tempest, and the winds had fiercely raged. The thunder had 
rolled along its sides and echoed in its rocks and hollows, and the 
jagged lightning had played against its summit. Even so, in Indian 
history, the calm beauty of those peaceful days of King Asoka had 
been followed by the storm-swept days of war. Last of all, in 
the Mutiny, the Ridge had been stained with human blood and 
scarred by shot and shell. 

Below the summit of the Ridge, in the open spaces where the 
modern. golf links had been made, I watched the golfers come and go. 
The clubs were swung and the balls were hit ; muscular men and 
women marched forward, while little boys carried their golf clubs 
behind. Muscularity was there in every limb — muscularity and 
temporal power. 

Instinctively my gaze turned back to the frail, wasted, tortured 
spirit on the terrace by my side, bearing the sins and sorrows of the 
people. With a rush of emotion, there came to memory the passage 
from the Book of Lamentations, — “ Is it nothing to you, all ye that 
pass by? Behold and see, if there is any sorrow like unto my 
sorrow. ” And in that hour of vision, I knew more deeply, in my own 
personal life, the meaning of the Cross. 

THE EDICT OF TOLERATION 

BY C. F. ANDREWS 

It is a strangely moving thought that very near at hand to the 
place of Conference, and close to the place where Mahatma Gandhi 
has been lying, are two pillars of King Asoka. On both of them is 
inscribed the Sixth Edict, which reads as follows : — 

“ I devote my attention to all religious communities alike ; for 
all denominations are reverenced by me with various forms of 
reverence. Nevertheless, personal adherence to one’s own religion 
is the chief thing, in my opinion.” 

The Twelfth Rock Edict concerning Religious Toleration is the 
most famous of all. I quote the following passage: — 

“ His Sacred Majesty cares not so much for external religious 
observance as that there should be a growth of the true spirit of 
religion in all sects. The growth of the true spirit of religion assumes 
various forms, but the root of it is restraint of speech, namely, that 



144 


YOUITG INDIA 


a man should not irrationally revere his own sect, or disparage that 
of another. Depreciation should be for a specific reason only, because 
the sects of other people all deserve respect for one reason or 
another. 

By thus acting, a man exalts his own sect, and at the same- 
time does service to the sects of others. But by acting contrariwise^ 
a man hurts his own sect and does disservice to the sects of others^ 
For he who does reverence to his own sect, while disparaging the 
sects of others, merely from attachment to his own sect, and with 
the intention of exalting his own sect, he in reality by such conduct* 
inflicts the severest injury on his own sect. 

“ Wherefore, the adherents of all sects must be informed that His 
Sacred Majesty cares not so much for gifts or external religious* 
observance as that there should be a growth of the true spirit of 
religion and respect for all.” 

This great Rock Edict of Toleration is found at a spot about 
forty miles distant from Peshawar on the hTorth-West Frontier, 
about a thousand miles from Asoka’s capital. The second and most 
perfect copy is near to Dehra Dun. A third copy is in Kathiawar. A 
fourth is near the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Orissa. The southern 
version is found in the Ganjam District of Madras. 


2nd October ^ 1924 

The following resolution was carried unanimously at the ‘Unity’’ 
Conference, being proposed by the Chairman: — 

This Conference places on record its deep grief and concern at* 
the fast which Mahatma Gandhi has undertaken. 

The Conference is emphatically of opinion that the utmost free- 
dom of conscience and religion is essential, and condemns any 
desecration of places of worship, to whatsoever faith they may be- 
long, and any persecution or punishment of any person for adopting 
or reverting to any faith ; and further condemns any attempts by 
compulsion to convert people to one’s faith or to secure or enforce* 
one’s own religious observances at the cost of the rights of others. 

The members of the Conference assure Mahatma Gandhi and 
pledge themselves to use their utmost endeavours to enforce these 
principles and to condemn any deviation from them even under 
provocation. 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 145 

This Conference further authorises the President to convey 
personally to Mahatma G-andhi the solemn assurance of this Con .7 
ference to the above effect as also the united wishes of this Con- 
ference that Mahatma Gandhi should immediately break his fast in 
order to permit the Conference to have the benefit of his cooperation, 
advice and guidance in deciding upon the speediest means of effecti- 
vely checking the evil which is fast over-spreading the country. 

Sept. 26-1924 (Sd.) MOTILAL NEHRU, CHAIRMAN, 

The following reply was given from his bed-side in writing by 
Mahatma Gandhi : — 

Dear Motilalji, 

Moved by affection and pity the Conference guided by you has. 
passed the resolution you kindly read to me last night. I would ask 
you to assure the meeting that if I could have complied with its 
wishes I would gladly have done so. But I have examined and re- 
examined myself and I find it is not possible for me to recall the fast. 
My religion teaches me that a promise once made or a vow once- 
taken for a worthy object may not be broken. And you know my 
life has been regulated on that basis for now more than 40 years. 

The causes of the fast are much deeper than I can explain in 
this note. For one thing I am expressing my faith through this 
fast. Non-cooperation was not conceived in hatred or ill-will towards 
a single Englishman. Its non-violent character was intended to- 
conquer Englishmen by our love. Not only has it not resulted in 
that consequence, but the energy generated by it has brought about 
hatred and ill-will against one another amongst ourselves. It is the 
knowledge of this fact which has weighed me down an^ imposed this 
irrevocable penance upon me. 

The fast is therefore a matter bteween God and myself, and I 
would therefore not only ask you to forgive me for not breaking it 
but would ask you even to encourage me and pray for me that it 
may end successfully. 

I have not taken up the fast to die, but I have taken it up to live 
a better and purer life for the service of the country. If, therefore, 
1 reach a crisis (of which humanly speaking I see no possibility 
whatever) when the choice lies between death and food, I shall 
certainly break the fast. But Drs. Ansari and Abdul Rahman, who 
are looking after me with the greatest attention and care, will tell 
you that I am keeping wonderfully fresh. 

10 



146 


YOUNG INDIA 


I would therefore respectfully urge the meeting to transmute 
a,ll personal affection of which the resolution is an index into solid, 
earnest and true work for unity* for which the Conference has met. 

Yours sincerely, 

27-9-24 M. K. Gandhi 


9th October^ 1924 

THE METROPOLITAN’S CONTRIBUTION 

The Bishop of Calcutta made a valuable contribution by his 
statement to the Press that the results of the Conference could only 
penetrate to the masses by means of constant teaching given by those 
who have influence among them. “ The new spirit,” he added, “must 
permeate downwards. Obviously it will take time, but one can hope 
that the process has commenced.’' In a very concise phrase he stated 
also the truth concerning religious propaganda. “ There is really 
nothing wrong,” he said, “ in preaching what is contrary to the faith 
of another, but only in expressing it in an offensive way.” But far 
greater than any verbal contribution were the simplicity and 
'humility and active sympathy which he showed throughout. 


Pt. GOEARAN.NATH MISRA 

“As a Liberal I must express my great satisfaction at the 
unique and signal success of the Conference. When I received the 
telegraphic invitation to join it, I at once made up my mind to do 
so, because the spirit that had prevailed in the past in the country 
was a great bar to our . attaining Swaraj, and also because -I con- 
sidered it my first duty to .do everything to promote unity between 

* Mahatma Gandhi adds in a note in Young India of 16th October 
1924: My fast and the Unity Conference notwithstanding, riots have 
taken place in Allahabad and Jubbulpur. No one expected that all 
?riots will end as if by magic because of the Conference or the fast. 
But I do expect that the Press will write of such riots with restraipt 
and without bias. I do hope, too, that the leaders of both the com- 
munities and belonging to all parties will co-operate to find out the 
causes and deal with them and issue to the public a correct version. 



THE ‘UNITT’ CONFEEENCE AT DELHI 147 


the various communities and thereby render you satisfaction and 
consolation at a time when you had taken a great vow for our sake. 
Personally, I at once gave up all other engagements and I have 
worked quietly at Delhi for a full week in order to help to achieve 
the object which we all had in view. It is a matter of great thank- 
fulness to me that success has come at last. By your blessing, a great 
and strong stone has been laid in the foundation of the structure 
of Hindu Muslim Unity. 

“The resolutions passed, though they may not give entire 
satisfaction to those who wanted to get ail that they desired are yet 
on the whole s.itisfactory. They at least afford us a good working 
basis. Much of the success of the Conference is due to the ability, 
patience, tact and hrmness of Pandit Motilal Nehru whom we had 
elected as our President. 

“ I now appeal to you to bring about a similar unity on the 
political platform. Many of us feel that unless all parties join hands 
and demand Swaraj with a united voice from one platform, it will be 
difficult to attain the goal for which we are all so passionately striv- 
ing and all intend to achieve. It is needless for me to point out the 
extreme necessity of such a political union at this present juncture. 
Let us all sink our differences, and invent a formula which might be 
acceptable to all. Let us close our ranks and fight the constitutional 
battle, which lies before us, with resolution and courage, so as to win 
the field.’* 


AN IMPEESSION OF THE CONFERENCE 
By H. C. E. Zacharias 

Coming up last week to attend the now historical ‘ Unity Con- 
ference * at Delhi, there was perhaps one thing more than any other 
that forced itself at first upon an observer’s mind, and* that was the 
little enthusiasm one seemed to encounter, whether in the country 
in general, or amongst* those bidden to take part. , ,1, for one, certain- 
ly had the impression that nobody seemed very sanguine about the 
Conference turning out a success in any sense of the word, or antici- 
pated that any 'Unity* would result. Hopes had been falsified too 
often by facile expectations. Exasperation at commimal unreason- 
ableness had grown too strong for that. 

Probably the ultimate success of the Conference owes not a little 



148 


YOUNa INDIA 


to that temper. There had been enough flare of trumpets, too muchi 
evanescent emotionalism in the past. To get out of the impasse, 
first condition was for everybody to realise how deeply the cart hadi 
got into the mud, and that mere shouting and flogging a spent horse* 
were of no use at all. To change the metaphor: I think that most 
people at the Conference realised, as the proceedings moved on, that 
they were brought up against a stone wall. There was simply no 
further progress possible in that fatal direction. 

So, with their backs to the wall, the leaders great and little^ 
found themselves at last forced to come to an agreement. Therefore ^ 
as resolution after resolution was minutely discussed and amended, 
one thing again and again happened. The party that held out for a 
point dear to it found in the end, when all arguments had beem 
exhausted, that they had to choose between two alternatives. They 
might either carry their point, or else secure a possible modus vivendi 
between the two great Indian communities. 

The crucial question of cow -killing was typical. The resolution,, 
as drafted, provided that * Hindus must not expect the exercise of the 
right of cow-killing to be stopped by force’ (whether physical or 
legislative) ‘but only by mutual consent.’ Then bhe Hindus said, ‘If 
we, Hindus, give away so much you, Muslims, must agree to a further 
clause guaranteeing that no cows will be killed in any place, where 
they are not killed now, and that you will gradually reduce all cow- 
killing, until the practice is completely stopped.’ 

But the Mussalmans could not do this,— or perhaps one should 
say the leaders present feared that they might hardly get their 
people to do it. Even a magnificent appeal on the part of Maulana 
Abdul Kalam Azad seemed at first unable to move some of his friends. 
But they fully realised what was at stake and that once more every 
one was beating his head against the wall. 

The President gave fifteen minutes for any wording to be drawn 
up that could be conscientiously agreed to. A feverish quarter of an 
hour having passed, Mufti Kifayat Ullah, as spokesman, got up and 
declaredthatthey on their part agreed to the clause that the 
quo should be maintained. The fact was, there was simply no alter- 
native except the continuation of all the bitter struggle of the past. 

A great feeling of relief greeted the announcement. But there* 
followed the clause “ Muslims to do everything in their power to* 
reduce cow slaughter until it is completely stopped.” 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 149 


The Musaalmans asked for the deletion of the five words printed 
in italics; ani who could say that the generosity Just shown by them 
•did not deserve a reciprocal response on the part of the Hindus ? 

But those w'ho followed Pandit Malaviya seemed adamant, even 
though Swami Shraddhanand pleaded that the words should be left 
out in order to meet the susceptibilities of the other side. In despair 
the President again called the meeting off for an interval, which was 
utilised by the Pandit and other Hindu members to come together 
and make up their minds as to what was possible. 

Exactly the same thing happened as on the former occasion. 
Every hope for loop-hole having been found non-existent, when the 
meeting was resumed the Pandit got up and in a tense atmosphere 
declared that he and his friends would give way and agree to the 
words being left out. 

For the first time the Conference really seemed to be swept by a 
wave of enthusiasm. Everybody shook hands with everybody else 
and a voice of thunder shouted above all the noice: ‘Mahatma Gandhiji 
ki Jai.* 

That was the turning point. Prom that time o awards things 
Vent’,— and they went with a real will towards Unity. With this 
will made up, Unity ceases to be an aspiration merely. It becomes an 
accomplished fact. And who can deny that behind it all, and above 
it all, there was the spiritual power of Mahatmaji himself, praying 
and fasting, fasting and praying, — “ wrestling not against flesh and 
blood but against principalities and powers : against the world-rulers 
of this darkness ; against the spirits of wickedness in high places”? 
As a Christian myself, may I add what intense Joy it has been to me 
to find, that in this spiritual battle the Chief Bishop of the Church of 
India (no longer, please God, ‘the Church of England in India*) should 
have been privileged to occupy no small place at the Conference, and 
have been given by Mahatmaji and by the love and good-will of all the 
Conference members this signal opportunity to carry out the solemn 
oath sworn by him at his consecration, “ to set forward, as much as 
in him lies, quietness, peace and love among all men’*. 



150 


YOUNG INDIA 


THE CONFERENCE AT DELHI 
BYPROF. RUCHI RAM SAHKI 

Altogether, including ladies, about four hundred representatives 
were present for the Conference. At so short a notice, this response 
was in itself remarkable. They had come together “ to end this 
quarrel, which is a disgrace to religion and to humanity.” As is his 
wont, Mahatma Gandhi had taken the whole burden upon himself of 
the sins of his own people. Hence the prolonged fast. 

Will the unique sacrifice he is making bring our broken heart - 
fragments closer together? Will it awaken in us, once again, a sense 
of common humanity ? Shall we be able to find once more our brother- 
hood as men, and reinstate God in our hearts ? These were some of 
the anxious questions, that the representatives were putting to them- 
selves when the Conference opened. 

It was a very happy idea not to leave out of the discussion the 
European element. The Metropolitan made an important con- 
tribution to the deliberations and his suggestions were always to the 
point and met with due appreciation’ 

The dominant note throughout the meeting was that sounded 
in the opening addresses. Not only did great issues hang on the 
spirit in which the representatives approached the problems, but they 
themselves were also meeting under the shadow of a national 
humiliation. It was their duty to wipe out the disgrace and shame 
which these fratricidal quarrels had brought upon the fair name of 
India. Thus Maulana Muhammad Ah and Pandit Motilal Nehru 
made the whole position plain at the outset. 

There was a genuine fear that the anxiety to give satisfaction 
to Mahatma Gandhi might lead to a patched-up sort of peace, which 
would be no peace at all. But no one who was present at the Con- 
ference could fail to realise that antagonistic view -points were 
openly, freely, and frankly discussed. The ultimate decisions were 
not easily arrived at; they bore the marks of a severe tension which 
had at last been relaxed. The questions .debated touched some of 
the dearest and deepest convictions, not only of those present at the 
Conference, but of millions of others whom they represented. It was 
natural, therefore, that heated excitement should have its place in 
the discussion side by side with cold logic. 

The resolution on the cow question became the crux of the whole 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 151 


discussion. It engaged the attention of the Subjects’ Committee for 
well nigh two days. In the end, the spirit of give and take prevailed,, 
thanks mainly to the lead given by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on 
the one hand and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on the other. The 
Maulana is known to be one of the best speakers in the country. He 
enjoys further the advantage of being a great scholar and theologian 
in his own community. On the present occasion, he surpassed 
himself in the pathos and fervour of his eloquence and the generosity 
of his sentiment, prompted (as he himself pointed out) by the special 
circumstances of India consistently with the strict observance of the 
practices of his own faith. The appeal, which he made to both 
communities, was the turning point of the discussion. He asked his 
co-religionists to remember that cow- slaughter even for purposes of 
sacrifice was not a fundamental part of their religion, and he assured 
his Hindu friends that there were not a few Mussalman leaders, 
who had not only never tasted beef themselves, but were endeavour- 
ing to reduce the use of it among Mussalmans, if only to show their 
spirit of brotherliness with the Hindus. 

The passing of the resolution formed the occasion for mutual 
congratulation and expression of thankfulness by the representatives 
of the various communities, to which the Metropolitan was not slow 
to add his own strong note of satisfaction. 

The skill, tact and patience which Pandit Motilal Nehru showed, 
as Chairman, were the the subject of universal praise. 


16th October^ 1924 

Mb. ASAF ALI 

The Unity Conference was historic in every sense of the word. 
It will go down as a distinct landmark in Indian history. Its chief 
significance lies in the fact that the intellectual leaders of all Indian 
faiths agreed to take a step in the one direction which cramped 
orthodoxy had long regarded as forbidden. To one conscious of the 
deeper currents of life it seemed to point to powers beyond human 
ken fulfilling the Divine Purpose. The Mussalmans addressed them- 
selves first with an instinctive, and later on with a definitely 
conscious effort, to the task of helping in the emancipation of India’s 
conscience. They realised that they must render unto humanity the 



152 


YOUNG INDIA 


things that were due to humanity. In the Quranic text, “ Your faith 
to you, and to me mine ” they found ready to hand the divine law of 
freedom of thought. 

In the first resokition the Mussulmans recognised the preamble 
to the charter of universal human rights. The second resolution led 
to a crisis, but the ti?nely intervention of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 
averted a grave situation and his prowerful plea for justice and fair 
play went home. 

The general impression among the Mussulmans is that a very 
definite step has been taken both by themselves and by Hindus in the 
direction of the fuller recognition of one another’s rights and duties . 
But the test of success must depend on the spirit in which the 
resolutions adopted are put into practice. The tension has been 
relieved. Those who took part in the deliberations are bound in 
honour to respect the spirit underlying the resolutions that have been 
unanimously passed. The one great thing achieved, however, is the 
atmosphere that has been created. It is just such an atmosphere that 
is requisite for Mahatma. Gandhi’s projected work of peace. His 
grateful penance and his pure prayer appear to have attained their 
end. ” 

Ft. DINA NATH 

The Unity Conference, as a widely representative assembly, 
well merited its name. Men of every shade of religious thought were 
gathered together. The Conference opened with prayer ; and surely 
a national prayer of united India must have risen to the Throne of 
Grace, when all stood up together, and bowed their heads in silent 
worship. 

“ The first day’s business must have disappointed many ; but that 
day was really the foundation of all the subsequent success. The 
Conference went deep down into the causes of those things that had 
recently happened. For a time, it seemed a darkness and failure, and 
even thick darkness ; but therein lay the grandeur of the height to 
which the Conference rose. One can never forget the spirit of 
brotherhood which touched all the members more and more as the 
Conference advanced. Towards this atmosphere I believe Maulana 
Abul Kalam Azad contributed more than any other. But the most 
impressive factor was this that the members felt, along with the 
Divine Presence, the essence of a great human personality, Mahatma 
Gandhi!s human limitations restricted indeed his bodily presence, but 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 153 


Ills spirit inspired the meetings. At times, as I have said, clouds 
-obscured the vision, even dark clouds, but m the end they were 
tdispelled. 

“ Wiser from the experience of the past, the Conference kept the 
direct object of removing those things which had caused such 
-bitterness among the masses strictly before them and they became 
knit together in humility and mutual service. What is needed is that 
this same spirit of brotherhood should be now manifested in actual 

deeds. 

Mr. SIDHAVA 

The Unity Conference has come and gone. Its success remains 
to be seen. On the third day, when the conference was dealing with 
the first resolution, the hearts of the two communities were revealed . 
There was distinct tension and had it not been for that great patriot 
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad I do not know what the fate of the 
conference would have been. I knew Maulana Sahib before : but I 
inew him better at the Conference. He is as rigidly attached to his 
religion as any other Mussalman, yet his patriotism towers above 
everything. We have passed resolutions. They have removed 
•differences. What we want is action. Unless the leaders stand 
together and condemn the deeds of their own communities, where they 
are wrong, the chances of success are remote. Personally I feel that 
these disturbances, though a disgrace to us, will end automatically in 
a short time to come. A man without religion is no man. A man 
without patriotism is the same. We have not understood the value 
of patriotism; hence these communal disturbances. If we put 
patriotism first, we shall not think of such fanaticism. My religion 
is very dear to me. I shall not step an inch from my threshold each 
morning without reciting my morning prayer. Yet I consider myself 
first an Indian, then a Parsi. Sir Pherozeshah Mehta and several past 
.and present leaders have called themselves Indians first. If the spirit 
of patriotism penetrates deeply the hearts of all communities, it 
would go a long way to quell these disturbances \ 

THREE WELCOME PARAGRAPHS 
The first of these comes from Colonel Gidney, the leader of the 
Anglo-Indian community from which the following is extracted ; — 

“ Over and above and behind all I heard and saw, I could not 
help thinking of Mahatma Gandhi, the one man who has in- 



154 


YOUNG INDIA 


spired this movement, and who himself thinks and is today show- 
ing to his countrymen that no sacrifice is too great to make, no 
penance too rigorous or severe to suffer, to teach the lesson of 
brotherhood and unity. This self-inflicted penance and this, 
demonstration of his unselfishness had undoubtedly awakened and. 
inspired m all those present at the Conference a desire to emulate* 
him in making some personal sacrifices to attain this end, *’ 

The second paragraph comes from Mr. Arthur Moore, the Editor 
of the Statesman : — 

The way to unity lies within each of us, whether we are 
Indians or Europeans. If each of us will try to rid himself of 
hatred and to understand that those who hold different viewsy 
whether religious or political, can be as sincere as ourselves — that 
the whole truth is something greater than either us or them„ 
and that everyone by his surroundings, birth and education, is 
led to see truth from one particular standpoint, which is not the 
only one, then all our quarrels will cease. If you put a Hindu, a 
Muslim, and a Christiam on three separate hill tops, on different 
sides of a lovely plain full of woods and waters, each will see a 
beautiful view and will think that that is how the other two 
should see it. All three views will be beautiful, and in a sense* 
all three will be a true view, though they are so different. But 
the perfect loveliness of the plain is open only to the eye of God 
who sees it on all sides at once. Let us pray that God will grant 
us all a larger vision, and one more like his own, so that through 
our faulty human eyes, we too may glimpse the truth on all sides, 
at once. ” 

The third paragraph announces that at St. James Church in 
Calcutta (which has a large European congregation) and also at St.. 
James Church in the Civil Lines, Delhi, and m many places elsewhere,, 
special prayers were offered at the Holy Communion on behalf of the 
Unity Conference, that its deliberations might be guided aright by the 
divine grace and that peace and concord might be restored between 
Hindus and Muslims wherever friction had occurred. At Delhi, the 
Metropolitan of India himself conducted the prayers. I have it on 
good authority, that in Catholic churches also the Mass was celebrated 
with this special intention. Furthermore, in Presbyterian and other 
churches the same prayers were offered. When the doctor urged 
Mahatmaji, on one of the most critical days of the fast, not to» 



TBE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 155 


continue it any longer because dangerous symptoms had appeared^ 
with a gentle smile on his face Mahatmaji wrote on the slate (it was 
his day of silence) : “ you have forgotten the power of prayer. ” 

As the Metropolitan has reminded us in his illuminating article, 
the power of prayer was behind the Conference. It was all the while 
present with Mahatmaji in his fast also. 


THE COJJ^-FEREHCE AND AFTER 
By Maulana Mahomed Ali 

Recent deplorable happenings, all over the-country, had indicated 
that there was either not a clear enough recognition of the rights of 
others, or at least not a sufficient respect for them. The realisation 
of this was most painful to those of us, who had hoped in 1921, that* 
unity had at last come to this distracted and disunited land. False 
pride didmot make us unwilling to face facts ; and we set about profit- 
ing from our own disillusionment. Two friends of mine from Allaha- 
bad, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Manzar Ali Sokhta, who were in 
intimate daily intercourse since their boyhood, had proved that Hindu 
Muslim unity could be a reality. They told me that, in their view, a 
restatement of rights must be the first step, and that complete- 
toleration, without the least reservation, must be the solid rock ou 
which we must build up the superstructure of Unity. This tallied 
with my own conclusions, and we discussed together at an informal 
meeting how best this plan could be executed. 

In my opening speech at the Conference, I took particular pains 
to explain that although our first step must be the restatement of 
communal rights, in all their nakedness, we should fail altogether 
unless we took the next step, namely, a restatment of moral obliga- 
tions with regard to the exercise of these rights and the duty of every 
community, in a composite nation such as ours, to make as great a 
renunciation of its undoubted rights as possible without prejudice to- 
the dischage of religious duties. I did not expect that a restatement 
of elementary rights would evoke such opposition as it did; but having 
adopted the statement of the two friends I have mentioned as my 
own, and having placed before the Conference so that it might form 
the basis of discussion, I persisted in the attempt to get these com- 
munal rights recognised. 



156 


YOUNG INDIi 


How painful for me was the attempt to get the right of Mussal- 
mans to kill cows recognised by orthodox Hindus can be realised only 
hy those, who (like Mahatma Gandhi himself) know how deeply I feel 
ihe obligation under which he and his Hindu lieutenant had placed 
all Mussulmans 6y their advocacy of the Khilafat cause. All tjie 
Muslim members agreed that we must insist on the recognition of this 
Tight, if only to make possible the success of our efforts for the 
gradual renunciation of this right by millions of our poorer co- 
religionists. But I doubt if the orthodox section of our Hindu fellow- 
countrymen would have put on record this recognition of this clear 
right, if I had not added to the resolution an appeal by the Muslim 
members of the Conference to their fellow Muslims to reduce cow 
killing with a view to its total stoppage. 

I have been charged with a great indiscretion in making such an 
Appeal without consulting other Muslim members, but in view of the 
happy result of that ‘ indiscretion I am not sorry for it, and I have 
already apologised to those whom I had quite unintentionally neglect- 
■ed. I recognise, with Lala Lajpatrai, that total stoppage of cow killing 
is hardly possible for a long time to come ; but we must do our best to 
reduce cow killing ; and as my personal contribution I presented to 
Mahatma Gandhi, when he broke his fast, a cow, which I purchased 
from a butcher, so that he might send it to a paujrapole, I do not 
share the Hindus’ reverence for the cow ; but so long as my Hindu 
brethren revere a cow, I shall not only take no part in killing it, but 
Also do all I can to save it. 

The discussion about the cow, which resulted both in the recogni- 
tion of a right, and also in a statement regarding the manner in 
which that right should be exercised, prosrided the Conference with a 
precedent for dealing with the minor question of music before mosques, 
■either along with processions, or at the time of Hindu worship ; and 
it did not take us long to settle it, I wish that the protagonists on 
mther side had been less exacting in their demands, and more 
generous in conceding a point to those with whom they were peace- 
fully contending. That would have saved much time and not a little 
temper. But the final result was, on the whole, very satisfactory, 
and I shall not be kill-joy to criticise too meticulously the process by 
which we arrived . at it. The test will be the manner in which 
the extremists on both sides act after returning home and the precept 
and example into which they translate the Conference resolutions. 



THE 'UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 157 

•‘My hope is large in Time. 

And that which shapes it to some perfect end.” 

The resolutions of the Unity Conference do not constitute a docu- 
ment, w'hich a patriotic Indian can place before a foreigner with any 
conscious pride. If cow killing and noisy processions are our 
“ horizon’s utter sum,” then our Congresses are a mere mockery. 

“ Let us ring down — the farce is nothing worth.” Nevertheless,, 
if the Unity Conference has settled once forall even such petty points 
as these, it must be regarded as a success. Let us not forget^ 
however, that it has yet to accomplish something far greater. Cow 
killing and music before mosques were only symptoms of a national 
disease, not the disease itself. The disease itself is personal and 
communal selfishness. It is not the ignorant ma sses that are the 
worst victims of this disease, but the little educated who hankerafter 
Government and municipal posts. It is petty exploitation that must- 
cease, if India is to be truly re-united. The Punjab, which is the 
worst affected area in all India today, is not so much the land of five 
rivers as the land of five jobs. The whole quarrel is whether Hindus* 
are to get three jobs out of the five, or the Mussalmans. Among the 
major provinces, the Mussalnianis in a minority everywhere except in 
Bengal and the Punjab. In Bengal, the Mussulman is still altogether 
backward, in spite of the stimulus given by the Partition. Deshbandhu. 
Das has done the wisest thing by giving him a helping hand. In the 
Punjab, the Hindu is in a smaller minority than in Bengal and the- 
Mussulman is not so backward. There is no Deshbandhu Das there,, 
but only a Fazl Husain. 

Mahatma Gandhi knew what was wrong with the Punjab, and 
among the resolutions he had framed for my guidance he had included 
one for the appointment of a commission to invite representative 
opinion about the rights of minorities and the publication of its report- 
by the middle of December. It was a very unwise step for the 
Conference to reject this while I was absent, but I feel sure that the 
moment Mahatma Gandhi is able to go about, he will take steps to 
remedy this. 

By that time, I trust that a better atmosphere will have been 
created ; and in that atmosphere, the educated classes, who are mainly 
responsible for exciting the masses, will be better able to discuss those 
other urgent issues in which they are far more interested than in 
cow-killing and musical processions. Exploitation does not make it* 



158 


YOUNG INDIA 


T)ossible, to have free competition. But even if free competition were 
■today possible, India does not so much require this Manchester 
-doctrine as the Hindu joint family system, m which the strong support 
the weak. For it is the fraternal spirit we need ; and it is this frater- 
* nal spirit, which consorts with our national genius. Our unity will be 
-a unity of federation : 

“Hot like to like, but like in difference 
Self-reverent each, and reverencing each ; 

Distinct in individualities, 

But like each other, even as those who love.” 


THE HIHDU-MUSLIM COHFEREHCE 
By the Most Rev. the Bishop of Calcutta 

It was Mahatma Gandhi’s fast that was the moving cause of the 
Conference; and though he was not present, it was in no small 
measure the spirit with which he had inspired his genuine followers 
that led to the successful issue of its deliberations. For there were 
a difference, easy to discern, among those who were members of the 
•Conference. On the one hand, were those who were first and fore- 
most politicians ; and on the other those who had learnt the mean- 
ing of love and longed for unity, not merely as a means to an end, 
but as a good in itself. They could say with the sweet singer of 
Israel, — * Behold, brethren, how good and pleasant a thing it is, to 
dwell together in unity.’ Both were inspired by legitimate motives ; 
but it was the nobler motive of love which, I believe, really won the 
victory. The political motive would have bee i satisfied with a peace 
"hased upon compromise ; but the Conference secured a peace that 
was based on the surer and more lasting foundation of mutual respect 
and toleration. A compromise is the outcome of bargaining and the 
a.ssertion of rights ; but tolerance is the outcome of that humility 
which recognises the riehts of others and one’s own limitations. A 
compromise, more often than not, will only remain in force so long 
as the relative strength of the respective parties remains the same ; 
but toleration is independent of the varying power with which a man 
can enforce his own views. 

At the beginning of the Conference the partisan bitterness 
■which had led to grievous outbreaks of violence in several places, was 



THE ‘UNITY* CONFERENCE AT DELHI 159 


manifest, though the speakers restrained themselves with admirable 
.«elf-controL But as the days passed, this feeling gave place to one 
of goodwill and a desire to understand the view point of those from 
whom they differed. 

There were, to my mind, three contributing causes to his result. 
Mahatma Gandhi had not merely announced his fast, but he had 
called men to prayer ; and the multitude of those who responded was 
great. Men and women of many diverse faiths prayed with deep 
earnestness that peace might be restored among the peoples of India. 

Again, though the Mahatma’s name was not frequently men- 
tioned and speakers deliberately refrained from appeal to his autho- 
rity in support of the pleas which they urged, for there was a strong 
desire that reason rather than authority should determine the 
issues, — yet the thought of him fasting and prajdng not far from 
where we were all assembled could not but influence us all. All 
knew that bitterness was alien to his nature, and violence abhorrent, 
and if the spirit that inspired his fast was to find any counterpart in 
the spirit which animated the Conference, bitterness must give place 
to good-will, if not to the nobler spirit of love. 

Yet again, the members of the Conference were not delegates, 
charged by those whom they represented to maintain a definite 
opinion, or champion a cause ; they were simply there, as independ- 
ent persons, invited by three well-known leaders to seek the true 
basis of unity. Their hands were not tied. They were free to listen 
to and weigh arguments ; the appeal could be made to conscience 
and reason. Prejudices, when brought out into the light of truth, 
were recognised for what they really were. 


28rd October, 19U 

Dr. S. K . Datta 

Among the contributions which appeared on Unity Day, I have 
extracted from the 'Bengalee' the following paragraph from Dr. S. E, 
Datta’s statement on the religious problem in India. 

" Here then is my main point. Ordinary religion is a queer 
thing it covers a multitude of sins — in this no religion is an ex- 
ception. During a certain stage of development the common mind 
of a community expresses itself in the terms of religion. Let us 



160 


YODNG INDIA 


in an unprejudiced way venture to carry this a little further in 
considering some of our own problems. 

(i) The Hindus form the great bulk of the people of India^ 
They include in their number the landlords, traders, financiers 
and capitalists of the country. The administration uses their 
undoubted talents in all posts, including posts of great responsi- 
bility. Further, the professional classes were the first to take 
the fullest advantage of modern education and are rapidly be- 
coming the new governing class in India. 

(ii) The Mussalmans of India are largely agriculturists, small 
occupancy tenants, as in Eastern Bengal, or small farmers with 
proprietory rights in the Punjab. These agricultural communi- 
ties were the results not of forcible conversion, but they found 
in Islam a bidwark against the social intolerance of Brahmmism,. 
or the economic oppression of Hindu finance. In addition, the* 
political prestige of the Mussalman conqueror was probably an 
added attraction. Educationally the community has been back- 
ward. They find themselves to-day therefore in a singularly weak 
position. 

(iii) The Christian community in India, which numbers nearly 
six millions, represents the greatest revolutionary movement 
from the depressed classes, or the landless classes, in India. As. 
a community, it is growing rapidly ; and the chief impetus at 
work is a desire for better conditions. The prediction may pos- 
sibly be made, that when the Christian community reaches the 
figure of twenty millions, it will put forth its demand in no- 
uncertain terms ; and the first symptom will be religious fric- 
tion. 

It is to this problem of economic and political relationships,, 
that the public mind must be directed, if a way out is to be dis- 
covered. The western world has a similar problem in the relations 
of the worker, the consumer, and the capitalist, to one another. 
Class hatred in Europe has its counterpart in India in our 
religious feuds. Are we sufficient in numbers to devote our- 
selves to ensure that every man, woman and child in India 
has the fullest opportunity for development and expression ? ” 

•In an article on the ‘Unity Problem* I have ventured to refer to 
this paragraph ; and I would ask that it should be read carefully in 
connection with Maulana Mahomed Ali’s statement. It very often 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 161 

appeared to me, during the discussions of the Unity Conference^ 
itself, that this economic basis was being almost entirely neglected^ 
Yet among the struggling and vocal middle classes of both 
communities, it is just here where the friction begins. It is this rising: 
middle class, which is able to excite the passions of the masses, 
on both sides. It is also able to allay them. C. F. A. 


SJT. SATIS CHANDRA MUKERJEE 
The following telegram was sent by Sj Satish Chandra Mukherji 
for the Conference : — 

“September 20, 1924, Calcutta. To Mahadev and Krishna - 
das, Comrade Office, Delhi. 

“ Kindly consider the following suggestion : — A systematic 
All India movement should be organised under a Central Com- 
mittee supported by provincial and subordinate organisations,, 
requiring men of all different faiths to gather in their homes, 
temples, mosques, churches, and prayer houses, weekly or oftener 
to offer prayer to cleanse their hearts from all bitterness and 
ill-will towards men of other faiths. 

“This Central Committee will also receive and hear 
complaints and grievances forwarded through whatever channel 
and organise methods of their disposal under the direction of the 
Central Committee itself, which should be autonomous with 
powers to frame its own constitution and rules for the direction 
of provincial and subordinate committees. 

“ God will yet forgive India and protect Mahatmaji. Please 
forward this to Mr, Asaf Ali Secretary of the Conference, and 
inform him that I am quite disabled through influenza and 
bronchial trouble and cannot attend the Unity Conference. 

Satish Chandra Mukherji, 

P. S. I have another suggestion to make. Where there has. 
been a desecration or demolition of a temple, church or mosque 
by pqople of other faiths, the latter should consider it a matter 
of duty to repair or restore such temple, church or mosque ; and 
it will be in the power of the Central Committee to organise and 
help forward such restoration. Every religious denomination 
should also be at liberty to help in such work. 

Satish Chandra Mukherji,’"' 


11 



162 


YOUNG INDIA. 


With reference to the first part of Satish Babu’s proposal, the 
Metropolitan’s article on Unity, last week, went directly to the same 
point. With regard to the second paragraph, the Unity Conference 
has actually commissioned such a Central Committee with power to 
add to its numbers. The third suggestion is one which would meet 
the approval of all. It should not be looked upon, however, merely 
as a penalty imposed on one community, which may have done the 
mischief, bat rather regarded as expressing the common sin of all, 
that such a desecration should ever occur. C. F. A. 


BORODABA’S DREAM 

I cannot refrain from sharing with the readers of Young India 
every word of the perfect letter that has come to me from Borodada. 
It reads as follows : 

“My dearest Charlie, I am sending you this small bit of writing, 
which, if you think worth publishing m Young India you may take 
every liberty with, and make any additions or alterations which may 
seem proper to you. I have called it ‘ A Political Dream ’ : — 

“ I dreamt that I was half German, half French, and that I was 
placed at the head of both the French and the German people. In 
hoth these capacities, I first settled the differences between the 
Germans and the French by making small sacrifices on behalf of both 
and after thdt I tried to settle the difierences between England and 
the Continental Powers. It is needless to say that I succeeded in 
this last attempt of mine to my heart’s content, and thereafter peace 
reigned in Europe from one end to the other. Just then a great 
conch shell sounded with a solemn sound reaching to the skies. This 
"brought to my remembrance that J was neither Napoleon Buonaparte 
nor the Kaiser of some twenty years ago, but that I was the great 
Akbar Shah sitting on the throne of Delhi. I then convened a 
meeting of Pandits, Moulavies and Padris of India and asked them 
-to explain to me the best teachings of the Vedas, Puranas, Koran 
and Bible. They did so with all their heart. At the close of the 
meeting all found out that these teachings differed only in Sound but 
that their sense was exactly the same Then the Pandits, Moulvies 
and Padris embraced one another like dear brothers who had met 
iiogether after a long separation, and thereafter all India acknow- 
ledged that they worshipped the same Divine Father and therefore 
their religion was at bottom one and the same. ” C. F. A. 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 163 


“THE TRQMPET OF A PROPHECY” 

Letters are now constantly arriving in India from unknown 
friends in America and Europe, which show the silent growth of the 
new ideas of spiritual force generated in India. One of these letters 
IS so interesting that I am tempted to share some portion of it with 
the readers of Young India, This unknown correspondent writes : 

‘‘ My reasons for wanting to come to India are, that I feel deeply 
the spiritual and moral deterioration of the West, and I am impelled 
to get into a simpler and more sincere form of living. Of course, I 
know full well that India is not devoid of evils of its own. But having 
followed closely the trend of events, since my visit to India in 1914, 1 
believe that I can find a Lfe there, whose tendencies are more what I 
really care for, and in which I can be really useful and happy. I have 
read a number of yopr articles in the ‘Manchester Guardian*, some of 
Rabindranath Tagore’s book, and many of Mahatma Gandhi’s utte- 
rances. It has been my special duty in America to deal with indust- 
rial problems from the point of view both of the employer and the 
employed ; but developments m my own thinking have led me to 
agriculture, and I am now working as a farm hand in order to gam 
practical experience. From my mother, I have inherited a love for 
art and music. Lately, I have been very deeply impressed by Mr, 
Gandhi’s spiritual insight and the Christ-like character of his life 
and teachings. Therefore I long to join the great tide of humanity 
which has been released in India by him.” 

Such letters keep coming from abroad. They mention two names 
only, Gandhi and Tagore. Now, from one of these two, now, from the 
other, the writers of these letters have tried to grasp some point 
which needs elucidation. They are puzzled, startled, attracted, won. 
With the Western energy, they desire to act. Many wish to come, 
either to Sabarmati or to Santiniketan. 

We are still within the range of Shelley and Byron’s Centenary. 
A new revolution in human thought has begun parallel to that which 
took place a century ago. This time, it starts from India. What has 
been happening of late has constantly reminded of the conclusion of 
Shelley’s gratest ode. The last stanza of it is too perfect to curtail 
any line of it ; but it is the closing portion, where the comparison is 
most complete : 

Make me thy lyre even as the forest is : 

What if my leaves are falling like its own ? 



164 


YOUNG INDIA. 


The Tumult of thy mighty harmonies 
Will take from both a deep autumnal tone, 

Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, spirit fierce. 
My spirit ! Be thou me. Impetuous one ! 

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe, 

Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth ! 
And by the incantation of this verse 
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth 
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind. 
Be, through my lips, to unawakened earth 
The trumpet of a prophecy. 0 Wind, 

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? 


2Srd October, 1924 
THE UNITY PROBLEM 
By C. E. Andrews 

There is one aspect of the Unity Problem, which needs to be* 
studied statistically, and worked out in all its different bearings, if a 
sane and temperate view is to be taken of the whole situation. It 
represents the children’s cry for bread, the cry of hunger, which 
rises all over the world, and not in India alone. This cry everywhere 
awakens passions and leads to riots and hatreds. Religion, race,, 
colour, creed, caste,— all these are utilised by the excited mind, that 
either faces naked hunger on the spot, or else sees and fears the* 
possibility of destitution in the future. As things stand today, with- 
in the human race, there is a frantic pressure from below upwards, 
and a frantic pressure from above downwards. In the impact of these 
two forces, lies the saddest drama of human life. There are two tragic 
situations, frequently occurring in history, corresponding to these 
two forms of pressure. The former of these is where a position of 
superiority, held for long, is threatened by a newly rising power. The 
latter is where a newly rising power does not yet feel itself secure* 
and wishes at all costs to stabilise its own security. 

Let me give an illustration from outside India first of all. Sarojinf 
Devi discovered, in South Africa, a racial situation, which was quite 
evidently a puzzle to her. She found English people, who** were 
otherwise kindly and humane, dealing brutally with Indians and 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 165 

Africans. She probed down, in her own imaginative way, to the ul- 
timate cause. For while she saw that colour prejudice came crucially 
into the problem, there was something more fundamental, — the sheer 
struggle for existence. The white race had emigrated to South 
Africa and had at first found ample space for its own expansion, and 
also a willing deference from the other races on account of its display 
of superior mechanical power. But, inevitably this rapid expansion 
forward, made by small numbers of one single race, had its own 
limits ; the tide of the other races swept back again and in the long 
run their greater numbers told. The white race, before it could 
establish its own security, found itself being threatened by the in- 
coming tide. At once a violent outbreak of colour prejudice arose. 
Instead of mingling with the other races and settling down -side by 
side with them (as we see the white race actually doing in South 
America) the colour bar has been set up. Every artificial restriction 
has been made, to preserve both privilege and power. Bean Inge has 
already predicted, in his Outspoken Essays, what the end is certain to 
be. He predicts the inevitable decay of the white race. 

One more example may illustrate a further side of the same pro- 
blem. In the dark ages of Europe the Jews were fewer in number, 
but far more cultured than the Christians. The Christians were then 
barbarous: the Jews had inherited traditional advantages and were 
intellectually superior. From certain areas, where they had freedom, 
they became the money-lenders of the rest of Europe. They had 
gained that sinister reputation. Physically they were weaker : in- 
tellectually they were stronger. The barbarous Christian powers 
crushed them mercilessly. Massacre followed upon massacre. Religion 
fanned the flame of persecution. 

Let us turn back to modern India, and see what is happening 
today. While every one condemns the outbreaks which have occured, 
it is necessary to find out the cause of the disease. Herein I have 
been most helped hitherto by Maulana Mahomed All’s statement 
about the Conference and the paragraph written by Dr. S. K. Datta 
which lam publishing elsewhere. 

I trust that I shall be forgiven if I try to explain what I mean, in 
my own way, however crudely. In the north of India, the Mussalman 
power had been in the ascendant for centuries. At first, the effect of 
the British occupation upon this ascendancy was not realised : but 
after the Mutiny the Mussulmans undoubtedly fell back in modern 



166 


YOUNG INDIA 


education, while the Hindus pressed eagerly forward. The Aligarh 
movement, under Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, did something to relieve the 
immediate pressure and to restore the Mussulman position, but the tide 
of modern education swept forward everywhere, in every province, 
and it carried the Hindus in its wake, into new economic power and 
position, much further than the Mussulmans. 

But this newly acquired power, in the hands of the Hindus, was 
still insecure. At any moment, it might be threatened from the other 
side. This has naturally led the Hindus to desire to seize every 
opening and to establish the position already gained, lest it be 
snatched away from them and they should fall back once more. 

Here we have an economic background, on which the racial and 
religious passions haye been able to work. What is the solution?! 
know nothing more to the point than certain concluding sentences 
in Maulana Mahomed Ali*s article, to which I have already referred, 
and I shall quote them in conclusion. He writes. 

“ Even if free competition between the communities were today 
possible, India does not so much require this * Manchester ’ doctrine 
of competition as the Hindu joint family system, in which the strong 
support the weak. Eor it is the fraternal spirit that we need ; and it 
is this fraternal spirit, which best consorts with our Indian national 
genius”. 


Jidlh October^ 1924 
AN IMPORTANT LETTER 
By S. E. Stokes 

[Mr. Stokes of Kotgarh attended the Conference for the first two 
days and then was obliged to hurry back to his home in the hills on 
account of the storms and floods. He has specially mentioned in his 
letter to me that his views are those obtained during the first two 
days only. As they are so striking in their character, and at the 
same time so deep in their insight, I am using the privilege of a 
friend in giving a portion of his letter to the public. At the same 
time, it must be remembered that he did not stay for the last days of 
the Conference, when a better spirit prevailed. C. F. A.] 

“ Mahatmaji is the living embodiment of the moral question, 
with which God has confronted India, — and in a larger sense. 
Humanity, today. He, and the message he represents by life 



THF: ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 167 


and word, must be faced squarely, if the world is to pass safely 
through the dangerous ocean that lies ahead. That message, 
as I read it, may be summed up in the words: ‘Except a man be 
born anew, he cannot see, much less enter into the Kingdom of 
God.’ The same is true of any people. Mahatmaji calls that 
kingdom ‘ Swarajya and he is infinitely more interested in the 
fact of its advent than m its form. It is the kingdom where 
men love their neighbours as dynamically as they love them- 
selves, in which man’s will is to live by God’s will, and in which 
his actions and endeavours spring from his sense of the essential 
oneness of all living and experiencing in God. The people say 
‘ What shall we do to be saved?*. Mahatmaji replies, ‘Except 
you be born anew, you cannot enter into the only kingdom which 
is salvation, simply because it is the only living kingdom that has 
not its roots in selfishness.’ The leaders then call a conference 
to discover a way to enter, and seek to find a door of salvation 
which does not demand the sacrifice of selfishness. Of course, I 
recognise how hard they have tried to evolve a formula which will 
make unity possible, and how much some of them would sacrifice 
to make unity possible — all but ‘the one thing needful.’ Many will 
sacrifice individual selfishness, but the demand that they sacrifice 
communal selfishness makes them ‘turn away sorrowful.’ 

“ That spirit of self-sacrifice, in its larger sense, seemed to 
me to be wanting. The stress during the two days on which I 
was present seemed to me to be upon the conception of rights 
rather than upon responsibilities. There seemed to be more 
eagerness to point out the sins of the other party than to search 
one’s own heart for its share in the guilt for the troubles with 
which we are confronted. I know that it takes considerable 
bravery to search one’s own heart, and greater still to face the 
issues it raises ; but the true solution of all that is without must 
be sought for within ; and the eyes of those who were assembled 
at Delhi were too often looking outward, not inward. 

“ However, I think the conference may do good. Hindus and 
Muslims have learned, for a few days, to talk together calmly 
and to listen without expressing resentment with regard to views 
with which they had little sympathy. After all, this too is a 
moral discipline. How much fruit it will bear, we shall be able to. 
see in the course of the next few months.” 



168 


YOUNG INDIA 


oth Fehruarij, 1925 
TOWARDS UNITY 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The All Parties Committee met to consider the qaestion referred 
to it by the Conference. It appointed a sub-committee of nearly 
fifty to consider the question. The sub-committee appointed a 
smaller committee to consider all possible Swaraj schemes and report 
to the sub-committee the results of its deliberations. Dr. Besant is 
labouring at this smaller committee with her usual application and 
energy which put to shame younger men and women. But naturally 
the attention centred round the Hindu-Muslim problem ; not that it 
is intrinsically more important except for individuals like me but 
because it blocks all progress towards Swaraj. The sub-committee 
proved too formal for the task. It was necessary to avoid the reserve 
and the stiffness even of a committee and to be absolutely informal 
and to have a still smaller number of persons. This was done and a few 
of each community met at Hakim Saheb’s house. The result has 
been succinctly given to the Press by Pandit Motilal Nehru. I 
agree th^t there is no cause for anxiety or disappointment. Por all 
want a solution. Some want it at once, some regard the time not to 
be seasonable, some would sacrifice everything to get a solution, 
others would be cautious and would wait till they have secured what 
to them is an indispensable minimum. But all agreed that a solution 
of the problem was essential to Swaraj. And all want Swaraj, a 
solution must not be beyond the reach of those who are engaged in 
finding it. The prospect was never so bright as when we parted to 
meet again on 23th February. Meanwhile, every one is to explore 
fresh avenues to a settlement. 

The public will want to know my view of communal representa- 
tion. 1 am opposed to it with all my heart but I would agree to any- 
thing so long as it ensures peace and is honourable to both the 
parties. In the absence of agreement on the plans suggested by 
either party I have presented a solution which might answer the 
purpose. But I need not discuss it at the present stage. I hope that 
the reponSible members of both the communities will leave no stone 
unturned whether by means of private, quiet talks or by means of a 
public expression of their opinions. I hope too that newspaper-men 
will write nothing to irritate any 'party but will observe discreet 
silence where they cannot usefully assist. 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 169 


RESOLUTIONS PASSED 
AT THE UNITY CONFERENCE— DELHI. 

^ BESOLUTION No I. 

This Conference places on record its deep grief and concern at 
•rthe fast which Mahatma Gandhi has undertaken. This Conference 
is emphatically of opinion that the utmost freedom of conscience 
and religion is essential and condemns any desecration of places of 
worship to whatsoever faith they may belong and any persecution or 
punishment of any persons for adopting or reverting to any faith 
and furtiier condemns any attempt by compulsion to convert people 
to one’s faith or to enforce one’s own religious observances at the 
cost of the rights of others. 

The members of the Conference assure Mahatma Gandhi and 
pledge themselves to use their utmost endeavours to enforce these 
principles and to condemn any deviation from them even under pro- 
vocation. This Conference further authorises the President to convey 
personally to Mahatma Gandhi the united wish of this Conference 
that Mahatma Gandhi should immediately break his fast in order to 
permit this Conference to have the benefit of his co-operation, advice 
and guidance in deciding upon the speediest means of effectively 
checking the evil which is fast spreading over the country. 

RESOLUTION NO II. 

This Conference deplores the dissensions and quarrels that are 
now going on beween Hindus and Muslims in several places in India 
resulting in loss of life, burning and plunder of property and desecra- 
tion of temples. The Conference regards them as barbarous and 
contrary to religion. The Conference tenders its warm sympathy to 
the sufferers. This Conference is of opinion that it is unlawful and 
irreligious for any person to take the law into his own hands by way 
of retaliation or punishment. The Conference is of opinion that all 
‘differences, no matter of what nature soever, should be referred to 
.arbitration and if that be impossible even to a court of law. 

RESOLUTION No III. 

There shall be a Central National Panchayat of not more than 
15 persons, with power to organise and appoint local Panchayats in 
‘Consultation with the local reprsentatives of the different commu- 



170 


YOUNG INDIA 


nities, to enquire into and settle all disputes and differences includ- 
ing recent occurrences, where necessary and desirable. The said 
National Panohayat shall have power to frame rules and regulations 
for carrying out this resolution. 

The Conference appoints the following to act as the Central 
National Panchayat with power to add to their number up to 15 and 
co-opt local representatives as additional members: — 

1. Mahatma Gandhi (Chairman and Convenor) 

2. Hakim Ajmal Khan 

3. Lala Lajpat Eai 

4. Mr, G. K. Nariman 

5. Dr. S. K. Datta 

6. Master Sunder Singh of Lyallpur. 

SESOLUTIOIT No IV. 

With a view to give effect to the general principles for promoting 
better relations between the various communities of India laid down 
in Resolution I and to secure full toleration of all faiths, beliefs and 
religious practices this Conference records its opinion: — 

1. That every individual or group shall have full liberty to* 
hold and give expression to his or their beliefs and follow any 
religious practice with due regard to the feelings of others and 
without interfering with their rights. In no case may such indi- 
vidual or group revile the founders, holy persons or tenets of any 
other faith. 

2. That all places of worship, of whatever faith or religion, 
shall be considered sacred and inviolable and shall on no account, 
be attacked or desecrated whether as a result of provocation or 
by way of retaliation for sacrilege of the same nature. It shall 
be the duty of every citizen, of whatever faith or religion, to- 
prevent such attack or desecration as far as possible and where 
such attack or desecration has taken place it shall always be 
promptly condemned. 

3. That Hindus must not expect that the exercise of the 
right of cow-slaughter by Muslims can or will be stopped by the 
use of force, resolution of a local body, act of legislature or order' 
of court but only by mutual consent and must trust to the good 
sense of Muslims and the establishment of better relations bet- 
ween the two communities to create deeper respect for their 
feelings. 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 171 


Nothing stated in the above clause shall unsettle or affect 
any local custom or agree ii^nt between the two communities 
already in existence, nor will it authorise cow-slaughter in a 
place where it has not taken place before ; any dispute on facts 
should be settled by the National Panchayat formed under 
resolution No. 3. 

Cow -slaughter shall not take place m a way offensive to the 
religious sentiments of the Hindus. 

The Muslim members of the Conference hereby call upon 
their co-religionists to do everything in their power to reduce 
cow -slaughter. 

4. That Muslims must not expect to stop Hindu music near 
or in front of mosques by force, resolution of a local body, act 
of legislature or order of court except by mutual consent but 
must rely upon the good sense of Hindus to respect their 
feelings. 

Nothing stated in the above clause shall unsettle or affect 
any local custom or agreement between the two communities 
already in existence nor shall it authorise the playing of music lit 
front of mosques where it has not been played before. Any dis- 
pute with regard to the latter shall be referred for settlement 
to the National Panchayat formed under Resolution No. 3. 

5. The Hindu members of this Conference call upon their co- 
religionists to avoid playing music before mosques in such a 
manner as to disturb congregational prayers. 

That Muslims must not expect to stop by force, resolution of 
a local body, act of legislature or order of court, except by 
mutual consent, the performance of arti or the playing of music 
including the blowing of shankhs by Hindus during worship and 
on other occasions in their houses or temples or public places at 
any time even if the house or temple or place in question is situat- 
ed in close proximity to a mosque; but they should trust to the 
good sense of the Hindus to accommodate them, 

6. Nothing stated in the above clause shall unsettle or affect 
any local custom or agreement between the two communities 
already in existence; any dispute on facts should be settled by 
the National Panchayat formed under Resolution No. 3. 

That Muslims are at liberty to chant Asan or offer prayers. 



172 


YOUNG INDIA 


in their own houses or in any mosque or public place not set 
apart for the religious observance of any other community. 

7. Where the slaughter of an animal or sale of meat is 
permissible on other grounds, no objection shall be taken to the 
method of slaughter, whether hyjhatka Bali or Zibah. 

Wherever there is any dispute regarding the sale of any kind 
of meat in a particular locality or quarter it shall be referred for 
settlement to the local Panohayat formed under Resolution No. 3. 

8. That every individual is at liberty to follow any faith and 
to change it whenever he so wills, and shall not by reason of such 
change of faith render himself liable to any punishment or per- 
secution at the hands of the followers of the faith renounced by 
him. 

9. That every individual or group is at liberty to convert or 
jeconvert another by argument or persuasion but must not 
attempt to do so or prevent its being done by force, fraud or 
other unfair means, such as the offering of material inducement. 
Persons under 16 years of age should not be converted unless it 
be along with their parents or guardians. If any person under 
16 years of age is found stranded without his parent or guardian 
by a person of another faith, he should be promptly handed over 
to persons of his own faith. There must be no secrecy about any 
conversion or re -conversion. 

10. That no community should attempt to stop by force the 
construction of a new place of worship by a member of another 
community on his own land but such new place of worship should 
be built at a reasonable distance from an existing place of wor- 
ship of any other community. 

RESOLUTION NO. V. 

This Conference is of opinion that a section of the press, special- 
ly in the North, is responsible for increasing the tension between 
different communities by publishing wild exaggerations, reviling each 
other’s religion and by every means fomenting prejudice, and 
condemns such writings and appeals to the public to stop patronage 
of such newspapers and pamphlets and advises central and local 
panchayats to supervise such writings and from time to time to 
publish correct versions. 

RESOLUTION NO. VI. 

It having been represented to this Conference that in certain 



THE ‘UNITY’ CONFERENCE AT DELHI 173: 




places acts of impropriety have been committed in relation tO’ 
mosques the Hindu members of this Conference condemn such acts* 
wherever committed. 

RESOLUTION NO. VII. 

The Hindu and Muslim members of this Conference call upon 
their co-religionists to extend full tolerance to the minor communities 
of India and to deal with them in all questions of communal inter- 
course with justice and generosity. 

RESOLUTION NO. VIII. 


This Conference is of opinion that attempts on behalf of members 
of one community zo boycott members of any other community and 
to stop social or commercial relations with them made in certain 
parts of the country are reprehensible and are an effective bar to the 
promotion of good relations between the various communities in 
India. The Conference therefore appeals to all communities to avoid 
any such boycotts and exhibitions of ill-will. 

RESOLUTION NO. IX. 


This Conference calls upon men and women of all communities 
throughout the country to offer daily prayers during the last critical 
week of Mahatmaji’s fast and to organise mass meetings on the 
EIGHTH of OCTOBER in every town and village to express the 
Nation’s thankfulness to the Almighty and to pray that the spirit of 
good-will and brotherliness may pervade and unite all the communi- 
ties of India and that the principles of full religious toleration and 
mutual good-will declared in this Conference may be adopted and 
given effect to by members of all communities in India.*^ 


DELHI ) 

2nd October, 1924. ^ 


Shuaib Qureshi 
Jawaharlal Nehru 
Secretaries of the Conference^ 



174 


YOUNG INDIA 


81st October^ 1924. 

THE KOHAT VISIT 

The following correspondence passed between Mr. 
'Gandhi and the Viceroy in connection with the former’s 
proposed visit to Kohat : — • 

Mr. Gandhi addressed the following letter to the 
Private Secretary to the Viceroy on the 16th : 

“ As soon as I have gathered sufficient strength it 
is my intention, if permitted, to go to Kohat in the com- 
pany of some Mussalinan and some Hindu friends. My 
•object in wanting to go to Kohat is to find out from the 
inhabitants the causes of the Hindu-Muslim dissensions 
And, if possible, with the help of friends, to bring about 
peace between the two communities. I shall thank you 
lo let me know as early as possible whether His Ex- 
-cellency the Viceroy will permit me and my friends to 
proceed to Kohat for the purpose mentioned.” 

On the 24th Mr. Gandhi sent che following telegram 
.as no reply had been received till then. — 

“May I have a reply by wire to my letter dated 
the 16th” 

In reply to the above, the following telegram was 
received from the Private Secretary to the Viceroy, 
-dated October 26 

“You do not state in your letter dated October 16 
when you propose to visit Kohat. Please state for his 
Excellency’s information on what date approximately it 
is you desire to visit Kohat. Kindly send your reply 
hj telegram.” 

Mr. Gandhi thereupon' wired as follows on the 
57th.— 



THE KOHAT VISIT 


175 


“ Thanks for the wire. It is my intention to leave 
Delhi with ray colleagues on November 1, or as early as 
possible, thereafter to stay at Rawalpindi for two or 
three days and then proceed to Kohat staying there for 
three or four days. 

In reply to the above the following telegram dated 
the 28th was received. 

“Thanks for your telegram. From the information 
he has received from the N. W. F. Province. H. E. the 
Viceroy is of opinion that the date you mention are not 
propitious for your visit to Kohat and that you will be 
very well advised to defer it until later. 

“ As you are aware, efforts have been made for 
some time past to bring the two communities together 
again at Kohat to facilitate the resettlement of Hindus 
and to induce the resumption of former neighbourly 
relations. If the course of those negotiations continues 
undisturbed, there is good hope of permanent peace in 
future, 'but at the moment feelings are raw and any cause 
may again arouse irritation in the recent wounds. 

“ There is apprehension, indeed it is almost inevita- 
ble, that excitement may be aroused by your visit which 
despite your intentions may cause a set-back there. The 
Hindus will naturally gather in considerable numbers to 
meet you and it is probable the Mahomedans will also 
assemble forces and that trans-border Muslims might 
come in to support the latter. It is feared that the result 
would be to range the two communities into sharply 
separated and hostile camps and to intensify the feelings 
in each camp and there might be even more deplorable 
results from friction between the two camps. 

“ For this reason, in his Excellency’s view, it would be 
most unwise and undesirable for you to visit Kohat with 



176 


YOUNG INDIA 


your friends on the dales you indicate. It is appreciated^ 
that your desire is to foster unity between the two com- 
munities : but it must be remembered thU in this frontier 
district forces may be set in motion which it may be* 
difficult to control. 

“ His Excellency regrets that he cannot countenance* 
your visit at present. It may be possible for his Excel- 
lency to reconsider this view at a later date when the 
position has changed and when feelings have had 
sufficient time to become less openly and actively bitter 
and only inner prejudices from past events at Kohat 
remain to be finally soothed, healed or eradicated.'* 

Telegram from Mr. Gandhi to the Private Secretary 
to the Viceroy, dated October 28 • — 

“Thanks for the wire. While I howto his Excel- 
lency’s decision, I venture to state that it was not my 
intention to encourage the Hindu refugees at Rawal- 
pindi to return to Kohat unless the Kohat Mussalmans 
were willing and eager to receive them with open arms.. 

“ Had I been permitted to proceed to Kohat it was- 
my intention to use with the assistance of Mussulman 
friends the friendly relations which, I believe, I enjoy 
with Mussalmans to bring about an amicable settlement. 
I thought, and still think, that heatt unity between the 
two communities can be brought about by non-officials- 
rather than by officials.. The latter can undoubtedly 
assist in many silent unofficial ways but my invariable 
experience shows that official as officials can only bring 
about an armed neutrality but cannot restore friendship. 

“As the public have been led to believe that my 
visit to Kohat was impending t propose to publish this 
correspondence unless his Excellency desires otherwise.*' 
Telegram from the Private Secretary to the 



THE KOHAT TRAGEDY 


177 


Viceroy, to Mr. Gandhi, dated October 28 in reply to the 
above ; 

“ Thank you for your telegram. His Excellency 
has noted your views. Having regard to the special 
considerations to vzhich he referred in my previous 
telegram he must adhere to the decision. There is no 
objection to your publishing the correspondence.” 


18th December^ 19 £4 
THE KOHAT TRAGEDY 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The Government of India has rung down the curtain 
upon the Kohat tragedy. In the Viceregal reply to 
Pandit Malaviyaji * the Government had prepared the 
public for some such resolution as is now before the 
public. The resolution is a demonstration of the 
Government’s unchallengeable supremacy and disregard 
of public opinion, as it is also a demonstration of nation- 
al impotence. To me the Kohat tragedy is not so much 
a result of Hindu-Miisiim tension as of the utter worth- 
lessness and incompetence of the local administration. 
Had they performed their elementary duty of protecting 
life and property, the wanton destruction begun and 
continued in broad daylight could have been easily pre- 
vented. But like Nero the authority watched and 
danced while Rome was burning. The authority can- 
not plead helplessness. It had ample resources at its 
disposal. It was at no time overwhelmed except by its 
own criminal indifference and callousness. 

And now the Government of India has become 

* Omitted in this collection. 

12 



178 


YOUNG INDIA 


pai’tner in the crime by white-washing the local officials 
and even converting their neglect or worse into ‘coolness 
and courage.’ 

One would have expected a full, open and independ- 
ent inquiry. But nothing beyond a departmental inquiry 
at which the public was unrepresented took place. Its 
finding can command no public confidence. The refugees 
from Rai Bahadur Savdar Makhansing downward whom 
my Mussalman colleagues and I saw, whilst admitting 
that a pamphlet containing the highly insulting verses 
was published by Lala Jiwandas, said that ample amends 
were made for the publication by the Hindus and that 
the Hindu firing was in self-defence and after the des- 
truction had been started by the Mussalmans. On be- 
half of the Kohat Mussalmans it was contended that 
sufficient amends were not made with regard to the 
pamphlet and that the Mussalman destruction and 
firing took place after the Hindus bad opened fire and 
taken Mussalman life. Unfortunately the Mussalmans 
of Kohat not having come to ^Rawalpindi, we were un- 
able to find out the real truth. It is, therefore, difficult 
to say that the Government of India’s distribution of 
blame is erroneous. But its finding cannot be accepted 
as an impartial or acceptable judgment. The Hindus of 
Kohat cannot be expected to accept and submit to the 
finding. Nor can such a finding, because it seems to 
favour the Mussalman contention, be any consolation to 
the Mussalmans of Kohat. For it would be wrong for 
the Mussalman public to applaud the Government of 
India’s finding, because it for the moment seems to sup- 
port the Mussalman contention. Any finding to be 
satisfactory must be joint and arrived at by Hindus and 
Mussalmaiis of proved impartiality. The Government of 



THE KOHAT TRAGEDY 


179 


India resolution is therefore a challenge to both the 
communities. It tells the Hindu refugees to i*eturn to 
Kohat on pain of submission to humiliating conditions. 
It bribes the Mussalmans to impose humiliation on their 
Hindu brethren. I hope that Hindus will prefer a life 
of penury outside Kohat but without humiliation, to a 
life of plenty in Kohat with humiliation. I hope that 
Mussalmans will be manly enough to refuse the bait 
ojffered by the Government and decline to be party to 
imposing humiliation on their Hindu brotheru who are 
in a hopeless minority in Kohat. Whosesoever the initi- 
al blunder and provocation, the fact stands that the 
Hindus were practically forced out of Kohat. It is up 
to the Mussalmans therefore to go to Rawalpindi and 
take the refugees back to Kohat with friendliness and 
with full guarantee for the safety of their lives and 
property. The Hindus outside Kohat should make it 
easy for the Mussalmans to make the approach. The 
Mussalmans outside should insist upon those in Kohat 
recognising their primary obligation to the Hindu 
minority. On a proper and honourable solution of this 
-delicate problem lies in a large measure the success of 
the efforts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity. 

The sooner we, both co-operators and non-co-opera- 
tors, cease to rely upon Government protection against 
one another, the better it will be for us and the quicker 
and more lasting will be the solution. Viewed in that 
light, the indifference of the Kohat officials is to be wel- 
comed. History would have been differently and more 
honourably, written if the Hindus had not sought the 
protection of officials, had stuck to their homes and 
without offering any defence, or even in the act of forci- 
bly defending themselves and their property and their 



180 


YOUNG INDIA. 


dependents had been reduced to cinders. I would wel- 
come a resolution by the Government that no one need 
look to them for protection in inter-communal quarrels.. 
If we would learn each party to defend itself against 
encroachment upon its liberty by the other, we would be 
well on the road to Swaraj. It would be a fine training 
in self-defence and self-respect or which is the same 
thing, Swaraj. There are two ways of defence. The 
best and the most effective is not to defend at all, but to 
remain at one’s post risking every danger. The next 
best but equally honourable method is to strike bravely 
in self-defence and put one’s life in the most dangerous 
positions. A few pitched battles between the two will 
soon teach them the uselessnes of breaking one another’s* 
heads. It will teach them that to fight thus is not to 
serve God but to serve Satan. 

I conclude this article by repeating the promise I 
made to the refugees in Rawalpindi. If they will not. 

* Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Young India of 20th Hovember, 1924':. 

Kohat Refugees , — I have seen references in the press urging* 
me immediately to go to .Eawalpindi to meet the refugees, 
from Kohat. I have also had messages to the same effect 
from them directly. I am extremely sorry that I am unable- 
at the present moment to respond to the call. My health is 
not yet such as can bear the strain of continuous journey 
and I dare not postpone my visit to Bombay to attend the 
forthcoming Conference m connection with the Bengal repression. I 
hope, however, immediately on my return from Bombay to proceed 
to Rawalpindi. Meanwhile I wish to give my assurance to the re- 
fugees that they have never been out of my mind. As soon after the 
fast as I was able to move about a little I made all the preparations 
to proceed to Kohat. Had I been permitted it would have been my 
first duty to go there in the company of some Hindu and Mussalman 
friends. I felt that 1 could then have rendered useful service and in 
company with the friends contributed my humble share towards re- 
conciliation between the Hindus and Mussalmans of Kohat. But my 
visit to Kohat having been prohibited, I ’did not feel that a visit to- 
Rawalpindi would serve any useful purpose. I know too that many 
friends were assisting the refugees and that Pandit Malaviyaji was. 



KOHAT HINDUS 


181 


return to Kohat till they receive cordial invitation from 
theKohat Mussalmans, I shall be prepared as soon as 
the engagements alieady taken up are finished to go to 
Rawalpindi in company with Maulana Shaukat Ali and 
attempt to smooth the relations between the two or 
failing that to help them to find suitable occupation 
ill life. 


12th February, 1925 
KOHAT HINDUS 
BY M. K. Gandhi 

I know that the pages of this week’s Young India 
will be searched for the finding"^ of Maulana Shaukat Ali 

* The statements of Mahatma Gandhi and Moulana Shaukat Ali 
were published m Young India of March 26th 1925. In his statement 
Mahatma ji ascribes the happenings at Kohat on September 9, 1924, 
to “ the resentment felt by the Mussulmans over the resentment felt 
in their turn by the Hindus over the conversions (so called in my 
opinion) of Hindus — men and married women and consequent steps 
taken by them, the Hindus. The desire of the Parachas (Mussalman 
traders of Kohat) to oust the Hindus of Kohat was another.^ Tire 
resentment felt over the alleged abduction by Sirdar Makhan Singh’s 
son of a married mussalman girl was the third.”* Mahatmaji also 
finds that while the pamphlet circulated by Mr. Jiwan Das, Secretary 
of the Sanathana Dharma Sabha, was offensive, the Hindus had made 
sufficient reparations for it subsequently. Mahatmaji finds that the 

giving special attention to them and even though in obedience to the 
call from the refugees, as already stated, I shall go to Rawalpindi, I 
realise that beyond giving comfort to the refugees I might be of little 
service. This much, however, I shall venture to urge upon the atten- 
tion of the Tefugees that the Kohat question is an All-India question. 
Both the Hindus and Mussalmans of India are interested in a proper, 
honourable and correct solution and settlement and they should be 
well advised before accepting any settlement to secure the approval 
of the Hindu and Mussalman leaders. Indeed I will venture respect- 
fully to tender the same advice to the Government. I am glad to 
observe that they have denied the correctness of the terms said to 
have been offered by them. The Government have declared themselves 
in favour of unity. It would be an earnest of good faith if they 
would take the public into confidence and secure public approval of 
any terms of settlement that they might propose for the acceptance 
of the two communities. 



182 


YOUNG INDIA 


and myself on the tragedy of last September. I am 
sorry to disappoint the curious. For Maulana Shaukat 
Ali is not with me and I must not publish anything 
without his first seeing it. 1 may, however, tell the 
reader that I have already discussed my impressions 
with Pundit Motilalji, then Pundit Malaviyaji and lastly 
with Hakim Saheb Ajmalkhan, Dr. Ansari and the Ali 
Brothers. And I have just finished writing them out 
during my journey to Sabarmati. My notes will be 
immediately forwarded to Maulana Shaukat Ali and 
I shall hope to publish them together with Maulana 
Shaukat Ali’s endorsement, addition, or amendment as 
the case may be. But apart from the finding, I am in a 
position to reiterate my advice to the Hindus that in 
their place I should not return to Zohat unless there is 
an honourable peace with the Mussalmans without the 
Government intervention. This is not possible at the 
present moment. For unfortunately, the Muslim 
Working Committee which is at present guiding the 
Mussalmans of Kohat was not and would not be 
represented before us. I can appreciate the delicate 


Muslims had no excuse whatsoever for their furious onslaught on the 
Hindus on the 10th of September and the following days. As regards 
the Government, Mahatmaji says that in ignoring the repeated 
warnings given by the Hindus that Muslims were preparing for their 
sack and that their lives and property were in danger, “the 
authorities on the spot betrayed callous indeference, incompetence 
and weakness, ” He oondems the forced conversions of Hindus to* 
Islam. 


Moulana Shaukat Ali, in his statement, finds that the Hindus 
were as much responsible as the Mussalmans for the affair. The 
Hindus were clever and better educated and were growing in strength 
at the expense of the Muslims in Eohat. The ojSicials, though not 
anxious that the Hindus should grow in strength, were taking special 
^vantage of the situation to further emasculate the Muslims entry. 
He repudiates that there were forced conversions and finds that the 

Muslim caps by Hindus were in 
intended by friendly Muslims to protect Hindus from Muslim mob fury. 



KOHAT HINDUS 


183 


position of the Hindus. They do not want to lose their 
property. The Maulana Saheb and I have failed to 
bring about peace. We have failed even to draw the 
principal Mussalmans for a discussion. Nor am I in a 
position to say that we should succeed in our attempt 
in the near future. In the circumstances the Hindus 
are at liberty to take any course they may consider 
advisable. In spite of our failure, I can only advise one 
course. ‘Don’t return till the Mussalmans take you to 
Kohat with self-respect and dignity.’ But I know that 
this is cold comfort except for those who are able to 
stand on their own legs and are in need of no advice 
from any quarter whatsoever. Such is not the position 
of the Kohat refugees. I have conveyed my views to 
Pundit Malaviyaji. He has been their guide from the 
beginning and they must act as he advises them. Lalaji 
came to Pindi but he was unfortunately laid up in bed. 
My own considered opinion is given in the statement 
sent to Maulana Shaukat Ali. But I confess in advance 
that it will bring no solace to them. I am but a broken 
reed" not worth relying upon. 

But there is no hesitation about my advice regard- 

* The following appeared in Youttg India of January %1, 1926 : 

Still at it . — ^The Secretary Ehilafat Committee Nellore wires. 
“Nellore Hindu-Muslim tension, strained ^relations. Reactionary 
Hindus carrying procession with music before mosques against 
mamool (custom). Mahomedans decided cow-sacrifice. Situation 
serious. Pray intervention.” 

It flatters my vanity to be asked to intervene albough I have 
repeatedly declared that I exercise no influence over the fighting 
elements whose star seems just now to be in the ascendant. But my 
vanity can avail nothing for the cause of peace. I can only suggest 
to the parties the sane and civilised method of arbitration. But if 
that does not please them, the Law of the stick is at their disposal. 



184 


YOUNG INDIA 


iTig what the refugees should do whilst they are outside 
Kohat. I cannot help lAinarking that it is demoralising 
for men and women who have strong arms and legs and 
who are otherwise physically fit, to subsist on charity. 
They must find out some occupation for themselves or 
with the aid of the local men. I have suggested carding, 
spinning and even weaving. But they may do any 
other useful work they choose or that may be chosen 
for them. The idea is that no person, manor woman, 
who is physically fit should live on charity. There must 
be always enough occupation in a well-ordered state for 
all who are willing to work. The refugees must be able 
to give a good account of every minute of their time 
whilst they are being supported by the nation. ‘Idle 
hands some mischief still will ever find to do’ is not a 
mere schoolboy rhyme. It contains a profound truth 
which can be verified by everyone for himself. Let 
there be no distinction between rich and poor, high and 
low. They are all bed- fellows in adversity. And the 
rich and the well-to-do should set an example to the 
others by labouring usefully even though they may not 
be drawing rations. What an incalculable good it must 
be to a nation whose members know an occupation 
which can stand them in good stead in distress. The 
refugees ’ life would have taken a nobler turn if they 
had all been spinners or carders or weavers. The 
refugee camp would then have presented the appearance 
of a busy hive and could have been kept up indefinitely. 
If the men do not decide to return at once, it is not yet 
too late to mend, [t is, a mistake to issue dry rations. 
It is no doubt less trouble to the committee of 
management but it means more waste and utter 
indiscipline among the refugees. They should place 



MY PUNJAB DIARY 


185 


themselves under soldiers’ discipline keeping regular 
hours for rising, washing, praying, feeding, working and 
retiring. There is no reason why there should not be 
Ramayan readings or such other readings for them. All 
this requires thought, care, attention and diligence. 
Oiven these the calamity could be turned into a blessing 
in disguise. 


11th December, 1924 
MY PUNJAB DIARY 
By M. K. Gandhi 

Not by Choice 

It was not by choice but by neccessifcy that I under- 
took to preside at the Punjab Provincial Conference. 
The Punjabis wanted an outsider to preside and if at all 
possible Maul ana Abul Kalam^ Azad. The Maulana 
Saheb however was unwilling. He said he would gladly 
attend but thought he would be more useful if he 
remaindfree. The Maulana’s position was appreciated. 
Pandit Motilaji was then approached. He was good 
•enough to say he would preside, if he was not prevented 
by any untoward event, and if Pandit Motilalji was 
prevented from presiding I was to fill in his place. 
Unfortunately the unexpected happened and Pandit 
Motilalji could not come. As the reasons given by him 
are of public importance, I set them forth in his own 
language. 

Fed up ’ 

In his letter to Lalaji he says : — 

“There has been serious misapprehension about my 
acceptance of the Presidentship of Punjab Provincial 
Conference. Mahatmaji and I had agreed in Bombay 



186 


YOUIsTG INDIA 


tliat Maulana Abiil Kalam Azad was the most suitable- 
president, but that in case he could not be made to 
agree I was to take his place. I received news of the* 
serious illness of my daughter-in-law and had to leave 
abruptly with an expert obstetrician. The Maulana 
Sahib came out of the meeting hall with me and I told 
him distinctly that my Punjab and Nagpur engagements 
were off and that he must preside at the Punjab* 
Conference and fix some other date for Nagpur. I came 
away under the impression that he would consult 
Mahatmaji and fix upon some one else to preside if he 
himself was unwilling to do so. On arrival here we- 
passed a most anxious day trying to save the new born 
baby, but the poor mite passed away. The daughter-in- 
law’s condition was fairly good, but not entirely 
satisfactory as she had a temperature. In the course of 
these worries I got news from Calcutta of impending 
developments and was asked to be ready to leave at a 
moment’s notice. 

“As soon as Jawahar’s wife was pronounced to be- 
out of danger, I turned my attention to the communal 
situation in Allahabad and made up my mind to do 
what I could while waiting in Allahabad under orders 
from Calcutta, I found the situation to be as bad as it 
could be and was almost bombarded from all sides with 
bitter complaints at my continued absence from my own 
city and province. I assured them that I would give 
ample compensation by working for them for a whole- 
fortnight. 

I set about immediately to make good this 
assurance. During my previous flying visits I had been 
thoroughly disgusted with the so-called leading Hindus 
and Mussulmans and decided to work on this -occasion 



MY PUNJAB DIARY 


18T 


from the bottom instead of at the top. I took up my old 
idea of organising a Hindu-Muslim Sangathan and 
giving it a start from A^llahabad. The first step taken? 
was to approach the University professors and students. 
We have a University Union here with a branch for 
social service. Both have a fairly large membership.. 
At the meeting with the Professors it was decided to 
take steps to use the Social Service Branch as a nucleus 
for the Hindu-Muslim Sangathan .Accordingly two M.A. 
students, one Hindu and the other a Mussalman, both 
of proved impartiality in communal matters, are now 
engaged in registering members of the Sangathan from 
among the student class. Side by side with this every 
Muhaliah is being similarly organised. From tomorrow 
I am to visit the Muhallahs personally and also speak to 
batches of students, who have been invited to Anand 
Bhawan at certain hours. After this preliminary work 
is done, I shall speak to the students generally and also 
address one or two public meetings. Time permitting I 
shall visit Lucknow and take similar steps there. 

“ You will see that the above programme involves 
solid work and wholly eliminates the show part, which 
unfortunately has come to be the only part of our public 
work in these days. To tell you the honest truth I am 
completely fed up with Conferences which are passing 
shows of the moment and invariably result in nothing 
substantial. The Nagpur disputes are ripe for decision 
and letters received from Nagpur show urgent necessity 
for the arbitrators (Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and 
myself) meeting and deciding the dispute before the 
Belgaum Congress. I have sent two wires to Maulana 
Abul Kalam Azad at Calcutta proposing the I5th but 
have received no reply from him. 



188 


YOUNG INDIA 


I have written at this length to you to give you an 
-accurate idea of the work I have laid out for myself and 
I hope you will agree that a vist to the Punjab at this 
juncture would not be as profitable. ” 

I share to the fullest extent Panditji’s horror of 
<5onferences. Not that they are always useless. They 
were absolutely necessary at a certain stage in our 
'Career. But they have in their present form almost 
outgrown their usefulness. Even when they do no 
other harm, they mean waste of money and time. The 
public spirit awakened by them needs to be consolidated 
into efficient work which can best be done by small 
•committees. These latter to be useful must be har- 
monious and ever re^sponsive to and by their solidly 
active work in touch with the general public. Abandon- 
ment of conferences should never be due to public 
apathy, but it should be because the public is more 
usefully engaged. For instance it would be folly to call 
people who are engaged in khaddar production to pass 
resolutions on subjects'OTi which the public is known to 
‘be in agreement. It would be equally unwise to call 
away those who are, say, engaged in organising relief 
in famine-stricken areas. Panditji himself was more 
usefully employed in organising peace brigades in 
Allahabad. And if he succeeds in forming genuine 
Hindu-Muslim Sangathans, he will have done service of 
a first class order to the country. His decision to work 
from the bottom, instead of through middlemen, must 
result in nothing but better relations between Hindu and 
Mussalman masses. 

My Real Business 

The Conference was an incidental business for me. 
My real work lay among representative Hindus and 



MY PUNJAB DIARY 


189 * 


Mussalraans. I had therefore no hesitatioji in appealing^ 
to the audience at the Khilafat Conference at Amritsar 
to suspend its sitting for the morning following till the 
afternoon of that day to enable the leaders there present 
to attend the informal meeting of representatives on the 
morning of the 8th. To my great joy the whole 
audience adopted my suggestion for the waiting. And 
Maiilana Zafarali Khan, the President, Dr. Kitcblew 
and others with much inconvenience to themselves- 
came to Lahore for the meeting. 

The Result 

It is hardly necessary for me to inform the reader 
that the meeting was arranged for the sole purpose of' 
considering the ways and means of easing the tension 
between Hind us andMussalmans and of establishing real 
peace between the two communities. Among Mussal- 
man outsiders, Hakim Saheb Ajmal Khan, the Ali 
Brothers and Dr. Ansari were present, and among Hindu* 
outsiders Panditji Madan Mohan Malaviya was present. 
The discussion centred in the political causes of the- 
tension. For tliey seemed to be the predominant if not 
the only causes of tension between the educated classes 
in the Punjab. Lalaji told me with great sorrow that, 
whereas formerly there were cordial social relations 
between educated Mussalmans and educated Hindus,, 
now there was growing estrangement. The meeting 
therefore discussed the advisability of revising the 
Lucknow Pact. The Punjab Mussalmans hold that we 
have outgrown the Lucknow Pact, if it was not a blunder 
in the very inception. They claim that whilst the* 
communal feelings run high and mutual distrust exists, - 

1, There should be communal representation on a. 



190 


YODNG- INDIA 


population basis at least under a common electorate or 
separate if necessary. 

There seemed to me to be general agreement among 
them that separate electorate should be resorted to only 
■Sbt the instance of minorities. 

2. There should be no favoured treatment to any 
sect i. e. no sect should be represented above its 
numerical proportion. 

3. The same formula should be applied to local 
bodies as to the legislative. 

4. On all public services the different communities 
should be proportionately represented with due regard 
to efficiency. Wherever therefore any community is 
unrepresented, all future appointments, whether new or 
to fill up vacancies, should be so made as to regularise 
the proportionate representation. In other words there 
should be no class favouritism or class preference. 

The Mussalraan friends present made it clear that 
they merely gave their individual opinions. They did 
not bind anybody but themselves and their opinion was 
subject to revision if any other community claimed 
special or favoured treatment. 

5. Any solution must be an all-India solution and 
must be by the consent of all-India. 

The Sikh friends contended that their special 
position and importance in the Punjab required special 
treatment i. e. excessive representation if there was any 
•communal representation at all in the Punjab. They 
said that they would be quite satisfied if communal 
representation was entirely given up and even if not one 
Sikh found place in the Legislature or elsewhere. 

The Hindu position seemed to be that there should 
be no communal representation at all, but that if there 



MY PUNJAB DIARY 


191 


was to be any it should be under a joint electorate. The 
Hindu position was not crystallised. The Punjabi 
Hindus seemed to dread, at the back of the Mussalman 
demand, a sinister design on the part of the Mussulmans. 
In fact there is a vague fear in their minds that if the 
Mussalmans gain a decisive majority in the administra- 
tion of the Punjab, the proximity of the warlike Mussal- 
man tribes would constitute a most formidable menace 
to the Punjab in particular and to India in general. 

Such is as briefly and as accurately as is possible for 
me to put, the real position of the respective com- 
munities. In these circumstances, it was not possible 
to press the advance to an immediate solution. I am 
hoping that at Belgaum there would be a more formal 
gathering of representatives to consider the whole 
position and to find an acceptable and national solution 
of the thorny problem. 

The Conference 

There was nothing notable about the Conference 
save the fact that the delegates both at the Subjects 
Committee and at the Conference gave me the utmost 
assistance. Even those who disagreed with me extended 
the greatest forbearance. I single out this fact, because 
obedience to the authority of the chair is such an 
essential factor in the growth of a healthy public life. 
The greatest caution should no doubt be exercised in the 
choice of a chairman, but when one has been selected 
he must command implicit courtesy and obedience. The 
only way to deal with a refractory vacillating or partial 
chairman is to move, with becoming respect, a vote of 
no confidence and rernove, him from the chair. In well 
ordered society the honour is not to the person but to 



192 


YOUNG INDIA 


the position. The fundamental distinction between 
personal rule and organised State is that in the latter 
the honour is rendered to the position which is a creation 
of the State i, e, the people ; and thus the State goes on,, 
no matter who is called to rule or preside. To put it in 
other words, every person in a well ordered State is fully 
conscious of both his responsibility and of his rights. 
The stability of a State depends upon the readiness of 
every citizen to subordinate his rights to those of the 
rest. He knows that the rights follow as a matter of 
course the performance of duty. The State is the sum- 
total of the sacrifice on its behalf of its members. But. 
whilst I place on record my gratitude to the delegates for 
their courtesy and attention, I would like to mention 
that there is still at our meetings an unconscious lack 
of self-restraint. It is indispensable for meetings, public 
or private, that those who attend them do not all talk at 
once nor whisper to one another, but that they listen to 
what is being said. The whole value of meetings is lost 
if people are not attentive. The reader will recognise* 
the seasonableness as well as the selfishness of these 
remarks. I want to prepare the ground for Belgaum^ 
All those who attend the Congress and conferences at 
Belgaum, please note. 

The Conference went through its work in seven 
hours on Sunday the 7th instant, 8 to 11 in the morning,, 
and 4 to 8 in the evening- The Subjects Committee 
took six hours. The work was done expeditiously, 
because no time was lost waiting for anybody. The 
proceedings were started punctually at the appointed 
times so far as the Conference was concerned. 

The Convocation 

The previous day, i. e., the 6th was devoted to the 



MY PUNJAB DIARY 


193 


meeting of the representatives, the inevitable but taxing 
procession, and the Convocation of the National 
University. Degrees were conferred upon the successful 
students, who recited the following oath in Hindusthani, 
which was administered by Lala Lajpat Rai in his capa- 
city as Chancellor. ‘I solemnly declare that I shall do 
nothing in my lifetime that would injure my religion or 
country.’ Among the students who received their degree 
was one girl and one Mussalman. The ceremony was 
impressive, but I could not help feeling all the while I 
was awarding the diplomas that I was a square man in a 
round hole. My notions of education are so revolutionai*y 
and as must appear to my critics so crude, I can only 
think of national education in terms of Swaraj. Hence 
I would have even the collegiates devote their attention 
to perfecting themselves in the art of spinning and all 
it means. I would have them study the economics and 
implications of khaddar. They should know how long 
it takes to establish a mill and the capital required. 
They should know too the limitations on the possibility 
of an indefinite expansion of mills. They should know 
too the method of distribution of wealth through mills 
and that through hand spinning and hand weaving. 
They should know how hand spinning and the 
manufacture of Indian fabrics was destroyed. They 
should understand and lie able to demonstrate the effect 
of the adoption of hand spinning in the cottages of the 
millions of India’s peasants. They should know how a 
full revival of this cottage industry will weave into an 
undivided whole the sundered Hindu and Mussalman 
hearts. But these ideas are either behind the time or in 
advance of it. It does not much matter whether they 
are behind or ahead of the time. This I know that some 
13 



194 YOUNG INDIA. 

day or other the whole of educated India will adopt 
'them. 

A Martial Law Prisoner 

The reader will recall the names of Messrs, Katan- 
chand and Bugga Chaudhry, the two martial law 
prisoners who were sentenced to be hanged and on 
whose behalf Pandit Motilalji took an appeal to the 
Privy Council. The reader will remember further that 
though the appeal was dismissed, the death sentences 
were commuted to life sentences. Now Mr, Bugga 
Chaudhry has been brought back from the Andamans 
to the Multan gaol whereas Mr. Ratanohand, I under- 
stand, is still kept in the Andamans. I had a vist from 
Mr. Bugga’s mother-in-law. She informed me that 
Mr. Bugga has been long suffering from hernia and piles 
and for the last three months has been suffering from 
fever. During the palmy days of non-cooperation, I used 
to tell the relatives of these prisoners that they would 
be soon released. I felt sorry this time not to be able to 
hold out any hope to the mother-in-law of the early 
release of her son-in-law although be is ailing and has 
already served five years of imprisonment. In analysing 
the evidence given at the trial of these two gentlemen, I 
had expressed my conviction that there was nothing in 
it warranting conviction foi’ murder. The Privy 
Council, it will be remembered, did not go into the merits 
of the cases. Their lordships threw out the appeal on 
what may be called technical grounds. 



ON ANOTHER’S LAND 


195 


oth Februai'y, 1925 
ON ANOTHER’S LAND 
BY M. X. Gandhi 

A friend says, “you ask us afe every turn to yield 
tt) Mussalmans, you ask us not to resort to law courts 
on any account Have you fully considered the con- 
sequences of what you are saying? Have you taken into 
account human nature? What are we to do when 
mosques are being put up on our ground without our 
permission? Whar are we to do when unscrupulous 
men bring suits against us for monies we do not owe or 
when they actually rob us of our possessions ? In giving 
your answers you must take our poor selves into consi- 
deration. You dare not say you do not know us. Or 
if you give y omv fatwas in utter obliviousness of us, you 
must not blame us if we do not respond to your counsels 
of perfection. Let me tell you that you are sometimes 
impossible.” I sympathise with the friends who talk to 
me in this strain. I am prepared to recognise the limi- 
tations of human nature for the very simple reason that 
I recognise my own. But precisely as recognising my 
own limitations, I do not deceive myself by refusing 
to distinguish between what I ought to do and what I 
fail to do. I must not deceive others by refusing to 
notice the same distinction and telling them that what 
they propose to do is not only perhaps defensible but 
also right. Many things are impossible and yet are the 
only things right. A reformer’s business is to make the 
impossible possible by giving an ocular demonstration 
of the possibility in his own conduct. Whoever thought 
it possible before Edison to speak to people hundreds of 



196 


YOUNG INDIA 


miles away from us ? Marconi went a step further and 
made wireless communication possible. We are daily 
witnessing the phenomenon of the impossible of yester- 
day becoming the possible of today. As in physical 
science so in psychological. 

Now for the concrete questions. The question of 
mosques built on another’s land without his permission 
is incredibly simple. If A is in possession of his land 
and some one comes to build something on it, be it even 
a mosque, A has the right at the first opportunity of 
pulling down the structure. Any building of the shape 
of a mosque is not a mosque. A building to be a mosque 
must be duly consecrated. A building put up on 
another’s land without his permission is a pure robbery.. 
Robbery cannot be consecrated. If A has not the will or 
the capacity to destroy the building miscalled mosque,, 
he has the right of going to a law court to have the 
'building pulled-down. Law courts are forbidden to con- 
vinced non-co-operators but not to those who require- 
such conviction. Moreover full non-co-operation we* 
have never practised. A practice has a flaw in it when 
it is not only inconvenient but clearly defeats the end 
it was designed to serve. So long as I own property I 
must defend it whether by the force of law courts or 
by the force of my own strong arms. The act is in 
essence the same. Our national non-co-operation is or 
was with a system. It presupposed co-operation among 
ourselves in a general way. But when wenon-co-operate* 
among ourselves, national non-cooperation is a mirage. 
Individual non-cooperation is possible when we own not 
a clod of earth. It is possible only for a Sanyasin. The* 
highest fulfilment .of religion therefore requires a. 
giving up of all possession. Having ascertained the 



HINDU-MUSLIM QUESTION 197 

law of our being, we must set about reducing it to 
practice to the extent of our capacity and no further. 
That is the middle way. When a robber comes to take 
■away A’s property he can deliver the property to hin^, if 
he recognises in him a blood brother. If he does not 
feel like one but dreads the robber and would wish that 
some one was near to knock him down, he must try to 
knock him down and take the consequence. If he has 
the desire but not the ability to fight the robber, he must 
allow himself to be robbed and then call in the assistance 
of law courts to regain the lost property. In both the 
cases he has as good a chance cf losing his property as 
of regaining it. If he is a sane man like me, he would 
reach with me the conclusion that to be really happy he 
must not own anything or own things only so long as 
his neighbours permit him. In the last resort we live 
not by our physical strength but by sufferance. Hence 
the necessity of uttermost humility and absolute reliance 
on God. This is living by soul force. This is highest 
self-expression. 

Let us bear the law in mind not as an academic and 
attractive proposition when it is written on paper but as 
the law of our being to be continually realised and let 
us fashion our practice in accordance with the law and 
the measure of our ability to live up to it. 


19th February^ 1925 
HINDU-MUSLIM QUESTION 
By M. K. Gandhi 
A correspondent writes : 

‘‘You have entertained in the columns of Young India 
an attempt made by one of your correspondents to show up the 



198 


YOUNG INDIA 


shibboleth of the Muslims’ extreme backwardness in education. 
That emboldens me, if you will permit an humble worker in the 
country’s cause, to put before you one more of these shibboleths 
which has been ruling our political life for long, but which is 
palpably more absurd than the one as regards Muslim back- 
wardness to which lam glad your attention has at last been 
drawn. 

“ The Muslims are a minority in India.’ How often is such 
a statement made, and how many times more is it tacitly 
assumed in political argument 1 But are they really a minority? 
Even taking one sect of them, viz. the Sunni Hanafi, for com- 
parison, do we not find that it is numerically stronger by far 
than any single community amongst the Hindus, or even than 
each of the other religious groups in India, as the Christians, 
Parsis, Sikhs, Jams, Jews and Buddhists ? And is it not the case 
that the Hindus are divided into communities and sects which 
are in most cases farther apart from one another socially than 
the Muslims are from the Hon-Muslims ? Then, what about the 
Hindu Untouchables ? Is not their number equal to, if not greater 
than, that of the Muslim ‘minority’? If Muslims as ‘ a minority” 
in India may claim separate and special treatment, protection 
and guarantees, how much stronger must the claim of this 
untouchable section of Hindus be allowed to be, since they not 
only are by their numbers as important a ‘ minority ’ — and a 
claimant one too, since the date of the Lucknow Pact,-but have 
been suffering for ages from actual present disabilities with which 
no Muslim or any other touchable minority’s apprehensions for 
the future may possibly bear comparison ? As witness, the Vaikom 
Satyagraha, the Palghat dispute, the Bombay * lynchers’. 
I leave alone the innumerable backward castes and the abori- 
gines so far reckoned within the Hindu fold. Are the Muslims 
then the minority ?” 

The italics and the black types are the writer’s, I 
have given the letter for its undoubted earnestness. And 
yet to me, an observer untouched, I hope, by any bias 
one way or the other, the reasoning appears to be 
specious when it is used to demonstrate that the 
Mussulmans are not a minority in India. The writer 



HINDU- MUSLIM QUESTION 199 

forgets that the claim is that of all Mussalmans against 
all Hindus. The latter cannot both have the cake and 
eat it Though divided among themselves, the Hindus 
do present a more or less united front not only to the 
Mussalmans but to all non-Hindus, even as the 
Mussalmans though divided among themselves present 
naturally a united front to all non-Muslims. We shall 
never solve the question by ignoring facts or re-arrang- 
ing them to suit our plans. The facts are that the 
Mussalmans are seven crores against twentytwo crores 
of Hindus. The latter have never denied it. Let us 
also know the issues. A minority does not always fear 
a majority because it is a majority. The Mussalmans 
fear the Hindu Majority because the Hindus, they say, 
have not always treated them with justice, have not 
respected their religious prejudices and because, they 
say, the Hindus are superior to them in education and 
wealth. Whether these are facts or not is irrelevant for 
our purpose. It is enough that Mussalmans believe them 
and therefore are afraid of the Hindu majority. The 
Mussalmans expect to meet this fear only partially by 
means of separate e|ectorates and special representation 
even in excess of their numbers in some cases. The 
Hindus admit the Mussalman minority but deny the 
Mussalraan charge of injustice. This must therefore be 
verified. I have not known Hindus to deny the 
statement that they are superior to Mussalmans in 
education and wealth. 

The Hindus on their part fear the Mussalmans 
because they (the Hindus) say that Mussalmans when- 
ever they have held power have treated them with great 
harshness and contend that though they were in a 
majority they were non plussed by a handful of 



200 


YOUNG INDIA 


Mussalraan invaders, that the danger of a repetition of 
the experience is ever present before the Hindus, and 
that in spite of the sincerity of the leading Mussalmans 
the Mussalman masses are bound to make common cause 
with any Mussalman adventurer. The Hindus therefore 
reject Ihe plea of weakness on the part of the Mussal- 
mans and refuse to entertain the idea of extending the 
doctrine of the Lucknow pact. It is again beside the 
question whether the Hindu fear is justified. The fear 
is a fact to be reckoned with. It would be wrong to 
impute motives to any community or leaders. To 
distrust Malaviyaji or Mian Fazl-i-Hussain is to 
postpone a proper solution. Both honestly state what 
they feel. Wisdom lies therefore in brushing aside all 
side issues and facing the situation as it is, not as we 
would like it to be. 

In my opinion therefore the writer has tried, be it 
ever so unconsciously, to overprove his case. He is 
right in saying that Hindus are divided into many 
antagonistic sects or parties each setting up a claim for 
separate treatment. He is right also in stating that the 
untouchables have even a stronger case than that 
Mussalmans for separate representation. The writer 
has made out a case not against the fact of Mussalman 
minority but against communal I’epresentation and 
separate electorates. He has shown that any extension 
of the doctrine of the Lucknow pact must inevitably 
lead to communal representation for innumerable sub- 
castes and other denominations, thus indefinitely post- 
poning the early advent of Swaraj. 

To extend the Lucknow pact doctrine or even to 
retain it is fraught with danger. To ignore the Mussalman 
grievance as if it was not felt is also to postpone Swaraj. 



HINDU-MUSLIM QUESTION 201 

Lovers of Swaraj cannot therefore rest till a solution is 
found which would allay Mussalman apprehensions and 
.yet not endanger Swaraj. Such a solution is not 
impossible. 

Here is one. 

In my opinion the Mussalman claim for majority in 
Bengal and the Punjab in accordance with their 
numbers is irresistible. That claim cannot be resisted 
for the fear from the North or the North West. Hindus, 
if they want Swaraj, must take the chance. So long as 
we fear the outside world, we must cease to think of 
Swaraj. But Swaraj we must have. I would therefore 
rule out the Hindu fear in considering the just claim of 
'the Mussahnans. We must dare to do justice even at 
the cost of future safety. 

What the Mussalmans want is not separate elec- 
torate for its own sake but they want their own real 
representatives to be sent to the legislatures and other 
'elective bodies. This can be done by private arrange- 
ment rather than legal imposition. There is flexibility 
about private arrangement. A. legal imposition tends 
fo become more and more rigid. Private arrangement 
will continually test the honour and good faith of each 
party. Legal imposition avoids the necessity of honour 
or good faith. Private arrangement means a domestic 
settlement of domestic quarrels and a solid wall of 
united opposition against a common enemy — the foreign 
rule. I am told that the law prevents the working of 
the private arrangement I have in view. If it is so, we 
must seek to remove the legal obstacle and not create 
^nd add a new one. My plan therefore is to do away 
with separate electorates but secure the election of the 
♦desired and greed number of Mussalman and other 



202 


YOUNG INDIA 


candidates in a giv^en constituency under a joint; ticket^ 
Mussalman candidates to be nominated by previously 
known Mussalman associations. I need not enter into* 
the question of representation in excess of numbers at 
the present stage. It can be considered and all diflSc- 
ulties in that direction can be met when the principle of 
private arrangement is accepted by all. 

No doubt my proposal presupposes a sincere desire 
on the part of all concerned to reach a solution in terms 
of Swaraj. If oommunalism is the goal, then any private 
arrangement must break down. If, however, Swaraj is 
the goal and the parties appproach the question purely 
from a national standpoint, there need be no fear of a 
breakdown. On the contrary every party will be- 
interested in its faithful working. 

What the law should, however, provide is a just 
franchise whereby every community can have, if it- 
wishes, voters on the roll in proportion to its numbers. 
Our voters’ rolls should answer the number of repre- 
sentatives in proportion to its population. But that 
question requires a critical examination of the working 
of the existing franchise. Forme the existing franchise 
is wholly untenable for any Swaraj scheme. 


26th February, 1925 
THE EMBARGO 
By M. K, Gandhi 

I publish the following telegraphic correspondence* 
between the Private Secretary to H. E. the Viceroy 
and myself: 



THE EMBARGO 


203 


Telegram to the Private Secretary 
To the Viceroy 


10 - 2 - 25 ' 

“ Does His Excellency now consider it possible to permit me and 
my colleagues to visit Kohat during beginning March.” 


Reply to the above 

13 - 2-25 

“His Excellency the Viceroy desires me to thank you for your 
telegram and the courtesy that prompted it. His Excellency would 
have been glad to be able to fall in with your wishes. But his atten- 
tion has been called to the advice you have just given in Yoiing^ 
India to the Kohat Hindus not to return to Kohat unless the Mus- 
lims make honourable peace with them without Government inter- 
vention. The only construction His Excellency can put on this 
article is that if you went to Kohat your influence would be directed 
towards the breakdown of the recent settlement, the effecting ot 
which was a matter of great concern to His Excellency and from 
which he hopes and believes an enduring reconciliation will spring- 
His Excellency is sure therefore that you yourself will appreciate 
how impossible it is for him to fall in with your wishes.” 


Second Telegram to thePrivate Secretary 
To the Viceroy 

19 - 2-25 

“Thanks telegram. In Young India mentioned your telegram 
I have stated ideal, but have no desire to disturb withdrawal prose- 
cution. My purpose is to establish real peace which I hold is almost 
impossible with Government intervention or better still without 
private and spontaneous effort. Intervention of my friends and self 
can only assist Government effort so far as it promotes substantial 
peace. Please reply Sabarmati.” 


Reply to the above 

22 - 2-25 

“ His Excellency desires me to thank you for your telegram. 
The agreement which has now been laboriously reached was only 
possible with the spontaneous help of private persons of both com- 



■204 


YOUNG INDIA 


munities. It is of course of the nature of a compromise between 
the two communities and any alteration in its terms would upset 
the whole settlement. Moreover it is only on the basis of this 
.settlement that His Excellency consented after much heart-search- 
ing to a withdrawal of prosecutions. While, therefore, His Excel- 
lency appreciates that your own desire is also for peace, he feels that 
your proposed visit would lead to a reopening of the case and there- 
fore however much he may regret it, he must abide by the previous 
rdecision.*’ 

It is quite true that my going to Kohat is likely to 
reopen the settlement in so far as it is intrinsically bad. 
It is a settlement brought about by coercion, for it has 
been arrived at under threat of prosecutions on either 
'Side. It is not a voluntary settlement that pleases 
•the parties. Both the Hindus and the Mussalmans 
whom Maulana Sliaukat Ali and I met at Rawalpindi 
'Said as much. But my visit to Kohat whatever else it 
may or may not bring about can never mean greater 
'estrangement between the parties. If, therefore, I had 
been permitted together with Mussulman friends to proce- 
ed to Kohat it would have meant, furtherance of peace 
which the Viceroy claims to have at heart equally with 
me. Whilst, therefore, I was able somewhat to under- 
stand the refusal when the things were still in a ferment, 
I am unable to understand the prohibition at the present 
moment. Friends were not wanting who suggested 
that I should have proceeded to Kohat without permis- 
sion or intimation and taken the risk of a prohibition 
order. I could not do so unless I meant to disobey any 
■such order and court imprisonment. And as I hold that 
there is no atmosphere at the present moment in the 
'Country for any such step I could not take the proposed 
risk. I can only hope that the authorities will appreciate 
4he deliberation with which I am avoiding every step 



MY GRIME 


205 * 


that may precipitate civil resistance. My purpose so 
far as it is humanly possible is to avoid taking a single 
step that may even indirectly l)recipitate violence on the 
part of the people. But a time must come when non- 
violent resistance on my part may become a duty in 
total disregard of untoward consequences. I do not 
myself know when such a time can or will come. I 
know that it is a possibility. But when that time comes- 
I hope that friends will not find me wanting. ‘Till then. 
I must ask them to bear with me. 


oth March, 1025 
MY CRIME 
By M. K. GaNOHI 

I gladly print the following from Maulana Zafar 
AH Khan written by him in his capacity as President 
of the Punjab Khilafat Committee. 

“ I have read with feelings of mingled amazement and pain your 
pronouncement, in Young India of the 26th instant, on stoning incid- 
ents in Xabul. You say that * this particular form of penalty cannot 
be defended on the mere ground of its mention in the Quran, You, 
moreover, declare that ‘every formula of every religion has in this 
age of reason to submit to the acid test of reason and universal justice 
if it is to ask for universal assent.’ Finally you maintain that ‘error 
can claim no exemption even if it can be supported by tbe scriptures, 
of the world’. 

“ I have always paid unstinted homage to your greatness and 
have all along looked upon you as one of the few men who are mak- 
ing modern history; but I would be failing in my duty as a Mussalman 
if I irefrained from pointing out to you that by challenging the right- 
of the Quran to regulate the life of its followers in its own way you 
have shaken the belief of millions of your Muslim admirers in your 
capacity to lead them. 



•206 


YOUNG INDIA 


“You are at perfect liberty to express your opinion one way or 
the other as to whether renegades can be stoned to death under the 
law of Islam, But to hold th%t even if the Quran supported such 
form of penalty, it should be condemned outright as an error, is a 
form of reasoning which cannot appeal to the Mussalmans. 

“Error is after all a relative term and Mussalmans have their 
.own way of interpreting it. To them the Quran is an unalterable law 
which transcends the ever changing policies and expediencies of 
puny humanity. Would to God that to your multifarious activities 
as leader of India you had not added the rather delicate task of 
.adversely criticising the teachings of the Holy Quran'' 

The Maulana has put an interpretation upon my 
-note which it does not bear. I have not ‘ adversely (or 
otherwise) criticised the teachings of the Holy Quran. 
But I have criticised the teachers, that is, the interpre- 
ters, in anticipation of their defending the penalty of 
'Stoning to death. I claim to understand enough of the 
*Quran and the History of Islam to know that a multi- 
tude of interpreters have interpreted the Quran to suit 
itheir preconceived notions. My purpose was to issue a 
warning against the acceptance of such interpretations. 
.But I would like to say that even the teachings them- 
-selves of the Quran cannot be exempt from criticism. 
.Every true scripture only gains by criticism. After all 
we have no other guide but our reason to tell us what 
may be regarded as revealed and what may not be. 
'The early Mussalmans accepted Islam not because they 
knew it to be revealed but because it appealed to their 
virgin reason. I fully endorse the Maulana’s statement 
that error is a relative term. But we know as a matter 
of fact that some things are universally accepted as 
.errors. Death by torture is I expect such an error. In 
making the three statements the Maulana has quoted, 
.1 have simply mentioned three canons of interpretation 



CONUNDRUMS 


207 


which I think are incapable of challenge. Any way, I 
abide by them. And if? I am at perfect liberty to 
express my opinion ‘as to whether renegades can be 
stoned to death under the law of Islam* why may I 
not express an opinion as to whether penalty of stoning 
to death can be imposed at all under the law of Islam ? 
The Maulana has betraj'ed intolerance of criticism by a 
non-Muslim of anything relating to Islam. I suggest 
to him that intolerance of criticism even of what one 
may prize as dear as life itself is not conducive to the 
growth of public corporate life. Surely Islam has 
nothing to fear from criticism even if it be unreasonable. 
I therefore suggest to the Maulana the advisability in 
the light of my criticism of applying himself to an 
elucidation of the tremendous issues involved in the 
incidents reported from Kabul. 


2nd Aprils 1925. 

CONUNDRUMS 
By M. K. Gandhi 

A Mussalcnan lawyer handed me the following 
•questions for answer. I am omitting from two questions 
argumentative matter: 

“ How far do you approve of tlie contention of Muslims like Mr. 
Jinnah and his school of thought that the Indian National Congress 
which has a large Hindu majority in it cannot adequately and justly 
represent and safeguard the interests of the Muslim minority and 
that therefore a separate and communal organisation like the 
Muslim League is absolutely necessary?” 

I do not agree with the contention imputed to Mr. 
Jinnah. In my opinion the Congress has from its birth 
gone out of its way to solicit Mussalman cooperation, 



208 


YOUNG INDIA 


even patronage. The existence of the League must 
therefore be justified on other* grounds. 

How far do you give countenance to the contention of eminent- 
Hindus like Lala Lajpat Hai and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya 
and their school of thought that the same Indian National Congress, 
although it consists of a large Hindu majority, cannot also be taken 
to represent and safeguard the interests of the Hindu community,, 
and that therefore separate and communal organisations like the- 
Hindu Mahasabha and the Sangathan are absolutely necessary and 
essential to protect Hindu interests ?” 

I do not think that the Congress has failed to 
represent the Hindu interest in so far as it was 
consistent with the national interest, i. e. the interests 
of all communities considered as one nation. The 
existence therefore of the Hindu Mahasabha, too, must 
be justified on other grounds. It is obvious that the 
Congress cannot represent mutually antagonistic inte- 
rests. Its existence presupposes mutuality of interest 
and effort. 

*‘What is your honest belief and conviction as to the real 
cause, whether remote or immediate, of the frequent riots and 
differences between Mussulmans and Hindus in North India and of 
their absence or infrequency in South India ?” 

I can only guess and my guess is that the two* 
communities quarrel more frequently in the North 
because they are more equally balanced than in the* 
South. Where riots do take place, they occur because 
both think communally and because either fears and 
distrusts the other and because neither has the courage 
or the foresight to forego the present for the sake of the 
future, or the communal interests for the sake of the 
national. 

“Do you really hope to solve the problem of Hindu -Muslim 
unity placing as you do reliance upon the present day orthodox 
Ulema of the Theological School of Deoband and ot the Jamiat-ul- 



CONUNDRUMS 


209 ^ 


Uiema-i Hind, who condemn in season and out of season as kafirs 
infidels, apostates, and as deserving of no other punishment that 
being stoned to death, a considerable section of the Muslim com- 
munity, popularly known as Qadianies, Mrinais, or better as Ahme- 
diahs, or will you seek assistance for the solution of the mighty 
problem from the Ahmediah community who seem really to hold the 
key to the situation, and who have already solved the question of 
Hindu-Muslim unity by their writings and their conduct ? ” 

I must woo the orthodox Ulema as well as the 
Ahmediah community. It is impossible, even if it were 
desirable to disregard the ‘Orthodox-Ulema.’ What 
one must, however, do is not to truckle to any person, 
or party. Having fixed one’s minimum from which one 
may not recede, one may stoop to conquer the whole 
world. 

“Have you ever inquired as to why, while the Muslim com- 
munity in India as a whole is so keenly interested in the affairs of 
Muslim countries abroad, not the least appreciable proportion of it 
takes any active interest in the internal political life and advance- 
ment of the country and especially in the Presidency of Madras?” 

In so far as the charge is correct, the Mussalmans 
take less interest because they do not yet regard India 
as their home of which they must feel proud. Many 
regard themselves, quite wrongly, I think, as belonging- 
to a race of conquerors. We Hindus are in a measure* 
to blame for this aloofness on the part of the Mussal- 
mans. We have not come to regard them as an inter- 
gral part of the nation. We have not set out to win 
their hearts. ! The causes for this unfortunate state of 
things are historic and were in their origin inevitable.. 
The blame of the Hindu therefore can be felt only now. 
The consciousness being of recent growth is naturally 
not universal and the physical fear of the Mussalmans- 
in a vast number of cases makes it constitutionally 
difficult for the Hindus to adopt the blame and proceed 
14 



210 


YOUNG INDIA 


to win the Mussalman heart. But I must own to the 
reader that I no longer regard myself as an expert on 
the Hindu Muslim question. My opinion has therefore 
only an academic value. I still hold to my own view 
even though I admit that I have found it difficult to 
make it acceptable to either party. 

“ What is your remedy for the unfortunate turn the politics of 
this country have ever since taken, viz., that while politics and 
political life in this country have from the beginning attracted suc- 
cessfully only a few of the rich and well-to-do classes, it has become 
almost an impossible thing for men of the middle and the poor 
classes to lead anything like an active and successful political life 
in this country, especially during the last four years?” 

The politics have taken no unfortunate turn. We 
are passing through a necessary stage. The immense 
self-cbnsciousness among the poorer classes has upset old 
calculations and formulae. We have not yet adjusted 
ourselves to the new state of things. But I see signs 
everywhere of settling down to the new order of things. 
Taking even the Hindu-Muslim disturbances in that 
light, I do not despair of the future. Order must come 
out of the present chaos. We would expedite the advent 
of order by watching, waiting and praying. If we do 
so, the evil that has come to the surface will disappear 
much quicker than if in our haste and impatience we 
would disturb the surface and thus send the dirt to the 
bottom again instead of allowingjt to throw itself out. 



INTER-DIKING AGAIN 


211 


30th April, 1935 
INTER-DINING AGAIN 
BY M. K. Gandhi 

A correspondent writes ; 

“ You have answered at length an Englishman’s ‘puzzle’ on the 
-question of inter-marriage. But what about mter-dinmg which is a 
much less vital affair but more frequent in life ? Suppose some men 
of good-will organise, as one means of promoting goodwill amongst 
all classes, an inter-caste, inter-communal and international dinner 
•on purely vegetarian and non-alcoholic lines ; would you from your 
own Sanatan point of view object, if any Hindu — say, some members 
of your caste or of your own family — wished to join that dinner on 
invitation (and not of course on compulsion I) and asked your opinion 
on it ? Similarly, may a Brahman with your view of the Sanatan for 
maryada) dhartna accept a clean dish of rice and a pure cup of water 
which a or a Mussulman or a Christian has offered him (and 

not of course forced on him), finding the Brahman wayworn, hungry 
nnd thirsty (and almost on the point of fainting, let us say) in a lone 
wild place ? In fine the question is : Does such a demonstration of 
goodwill as the* cosmopolitan’ dinner or the offer of a dish by a 
supposed untouchable to a touchable Hindu and acceptance thereof 
square with your idea of the Sanatan or Varnashrajn dharma or Mar^^ 
yada dharma or does it not ?” 

If a Brahmin is in distress he would take, if he 
wishes to hold on to his body, clean food by whomso- 
ever offered. I would neither object to nor advocate 
participation in an inter-national or cosmopolitan 
dinner, for the simple reason that such of unctions do not 
necessarily promote friendship or goodwill. It is possi- 
ble today to organise a dinner party between Hindus 
and Mussalmans but I dare to say that such a dinner 
will no more bring the two communities together than 
the absence of it keeps them apart. I have known 
deadly enegiies dine and chat together heartily and yet 
remain enemies. Where will the correspondent draw 



212 


YOUNG INDIA 


the line! Why does he stop at vegetarian and non-al- 
cohlic meals ? A man who regards flesh-eating a virtue 
and wine bibbing a harmless and pleasurable refresh- 
ment, will see nothing but promotion of goodwill in 
div-iding with the world his beef steak and exchanging 
with it the sparkling cup? On the argument under- 
lying the correspondent’s query, there can be no 
dividing line. I therefore rule out inter-dining as the 
means of promoting goodwill. Whilst t do not myself 
observe these restrictions and take food that I do not 
regard as forbidden at the hands of anyone so long as it 
is cleanly dressed, I respect the scruples of those who 
observe the restrictions. Nor do I pat myself pa the 
back for ray ‘liberal’ practice as against the others’’ 
narrowness*. I may be narrow and -selfish inspite of 
my apparently liberal practice and my friend may be 
liberal and unselfish notwithstanding his apparently 
narrow practice. Merit or demerit lies in the motive. 
Insistence upon interdining as part of the programme 
of promotion of fellowship in my opinion retards the 
growth of goodwill by raising false issues and even 
false hope. What I arn trying to remove is ' the idea of 
pollution and superiority. These self-imposed restric- 
tions have a sanitary as also a spiritual value. But 
non-observance no more dooms a man to perdition than 
its observance raises him to the seventh heaven, A 
man who observes the dining restrictions in a most 
punctilious manner may be a veritable blackguard fit to 
be shunned by society, and a cosmopolitan omnivorous 
man may be me ever walking in the fear of God whose 
society it would be a privilege to cultivate. 



THE SCIENCE OP SURRENDER 


213 


9 th July^ 1925 

THE SCIENCE OP SURRENDER 
By M. K. Ga^tdhi 

Excepfcioa has been taken to my remarks at a meet- 
ing in Calcutta that Deshabandbu in his relations with 
the Mussalmans brought ' the science of surrender to 
perfection.’ The exception has been taken because my 
critics impute to me the implication that by surrender I 
mean that Deshabandhu conferred on Mussalmans 
favours, that is, things they were not entitled to. The 
critics opine that the Hindus are acting towards the 
Mussalmans much the same as Englishmen are acting 
towards us all having first taken away everything and 
then offering us doles in the name of favours. 

I know what I said at the meeting in question. I 
have not read the reports of my speech but I desire to 
abide by all I said at that meeting. I make bold to say 
that without mutual surrender there is n6 hope for this 
distraught country. Let us not be hyper-sensitive or 
devoid of imagination. To surrender is not to confer 
favour. Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice 
that law gives is a punishment. What a lover gives 
transcends justice. And yet it is always less than 
he wishes to give because he is anxious to give more 
and frets that he has nothing left. It is libellous to 
say that Hindus act like Englishmen. Hindus cannot 
even if they would, and this I say inspite ot the 
brutality of the labourers of Kidderpore. Both Hindus 
arjd Mussalmans sail in the same boat. Both are fallen 
And they are in the position of lovers, have to be, 
whether they will or no. Every act, therefore, of a 



214 


YOUNG INDIA. 


Hindu towards the Mussal man and vice versa must be- 
an act of surrender and not mere justice. The>^ may not 
weigh their acts in golden scales and exact considera- 
tion. Each has to regard himself ever a debtor of the 
other. By justice why should not a Mussalman kill a cow 
every day in front of me ? But his love for me restrains 
him from so doing and he goes out of his way some 
times even to refrain from eating beef for his love 
of me, and yet thinks that he has done only just what is 
right. Justice permits me to shout my music in the ear 
of Maulana Mahomed Ali when he is at prayer but I go* 
out of my way to anticipate his feelings and make my 
talks whispers whilst he is praying and still consider 
that I have conferred no favour on the Maulana. On 
the other hand, I should become a loathsome creature if 
I exercised my just right of playing tomtom precisely at 
the time of his prayer. Justice might have been satisfi- 
ed if Deshabandhu Das had not filled certain posts with 
Mussalmans, but he went out of his way to anticipate^ 
Mussalman wishes and placate Mussalman sentiment. It 
was his se^nsitiveness to placate them that hastened his 
death. For I know what a shock it was to him to* 
learn that law, z. e, justice would compel him to disinter 
certain remains buried in unauthorised ground and he 
was trying to find out means of avoiding any the 
slightest offence to Muslim sentiment even though it 
may be unreasonable. This was all going out of the 
way — not his way but the way of the world. And yet 
he never considered that he was conferring any favour 
on the Mussalmans by delicately considering their feel- 
.ings. Love never claims, it ever gives. Love eve.r 
suffers, never resents, never revenges itself. 

This talk, therefore, of justice and nothing but justice 



THE SCIENCE OP SURRENDER 2i5 

is a thoughtless, angry and ignorant outburst whether it 
comes from Hindus or Mussalmans. So long as Hindus 
and Mussalmans continue to prate about justice they will 
never come together. ‘ Might is right ’ is the last 
word of ‘ justice and nothing but justice’. Why should 
Englishmen surrender an inch of what they have 
earned by right of conquest? Or why should Indians 
when they come to power not make the English disgorge 
everything which their ancesters robbed them of? 
And yet when we come to a settlement, as we shall 
some day, we will not weigh in the scales of justice so- 
called. But we shall introduce into the calculation the 
disturbing factor of surrender otherwise called love or 
affection or fellow-feeling. And so will it be with us 
Hindus and Mussalmans when we have sufficiently 
broken one another’s heads and spilled a few gallons of 
innocent blood and realised our foolishness. The scales 
will then fall off our eyes and we shall recognise 
that vengence was not the law of friendship ; not justice 
but surrender and nothing but surrender was the law of 
friendship. Hindus will have to learn to bear the sight 
of cow-slaughter and the Mussalmans will have to dis- 
cover that it was against the law of Islam to kill a cow 
in order to wound the susceptibilities of Hindus. When 
that happy day arrives we shall know only each other’s 
virtues. Our vices will not obtrude themselves upon 
our gaze. That day may be far off or it may be very 
near. I feel it coming soon. I shall work for that end 
and no other. 

It is scarcely necessary for me to add by way of 
caution that my surrender does not mean surrender of 
principle. I made the point clear at the meeting and I 
wish to emphasise it here once more. But what we are 



216 


YOUNG INDIA 


just now fighting for is not any principle at all but 
vanity and prejudice* We strain at a gnat and swallow 
a camel. 


22nd October, 1925 
THAT ETERNAL QUESTION 
By M. K. Gandhi 

However much I may wish to avoid it the Hindu- 
Muslim question will not avoid me. Muslim friends 
insist upon my intervention to solve it. The Hindu 
friends would have me discuss it with them and some 
of them say I have sown the wind and must reap the 
whirlwind. Whilst I was in Calcutta a Bihar friend 
had written to me in grief and angei* telling me of the 
alleged kidnapping of Hindu boys and specially girls. 
I had written to him telling him point blank that I did 
not believe those allegations but that if he had proof 
and gave it to me I would gladly examine it and if I 
was satisfied I would denounce it although I might not 
be able to do any tangible good. Since then I have had 
cuttings from newspapers describing in harrowing 
detail cases of kidnapping. I had told the friend that 
newspaperextracts could not be acceptedas any evidence 
of the crime, that in many cases newspaper paragraphs 
were inflammatory, misleading and often absolutely 
false. There are Hindu and Muslim sheets that delight 
in blackguarding Mussalmans and Hindus respectively 
and if both of them could be accepted as true both the 
parities were loathsome creatures. But I have proved 
to my own satisfaction that many of these reported 
cases are highly exaggerated if they are not false. I 



THAT ETERNAL QUESTION 


217 


laave therefore, asked for such incontestable proofs as 
would be accepted in any court of law. The Titagarh 
•case is certainly such a one. A Hindu girl had been 
kidnapped. She is supposed to have embraced Islam 
and inspite of the court’s order she has not been yet 
produced so far as I am aware. What is more, respec- 
table people are concerned in the non-production of the 
-girl. When I was in Titagarh nobody seemed prepared 
to shoulder the responsibility about the girl. At Patna 
too some startling- information was given to me with 
-corroborative evidence. I refrain at the present moment 
from- going into it because it is not before me in its 
-completed form. Such cases set one athinking and 
need the attention of all well-wishers of the country. 
There is then the question of music in front of mosques. 
I have heard of a peremptory demand for total cessation 
of music, soft or loud, at any time whatsoever in front 
of mosques. There is too a demand for the stopping of 
^arati during prayer hours in temples in the neighbour- 
hood of mosques. I heard in Calcutta that even boys 
passing by a mosque early in the morning and reciting 
Eanniam were stopped. 

What is to be done. Recourse to law. courts in 
such matters is a broken reed. If I allow my daughter 
to be kidnapped and then go to court for protection the 
latter would be powerlevss or if the judge got angry over 
my cowardice he would dismiss me from his presence 
with deserved contempt. Courts deal with ordinary 
•crimes. General kidnapping of girls or boys is not an 
ordinary crime. People in such cases are expected to 
look after themselves. Courts help those who are 
largely able to help themselves. Theirs is supplemen- 
iiary protection,, So long as there are weak people so 



218 


YOUNG INDIA 


long will there be some one to prey upon their weak- 
ness. The remedy therefore lies in organising for self*^ 
defence. I could find ifc in me to justify the most 
violent defence in such cases unless the people concern- 
ed are capable of a non-violent defence. No doubt 
where girls or boys of poor and helpless parents aro 
kidnapped, the case becomes much more complicated. 
There the remedy has to be found not by the individual 
but by a whole clan or caste. A presentation, however^ 
of authentic cases of kidnapping is a prime necessity 
before public opinion can be well organised. 

The que.stion of music is much simpler than that of 
kidnapping. Either continuous music, arati or the re- 
peating of Ramnam is a religious necessity or it is not. 
If it is a religious necessity no prohibition order by a 
court of law can be held obligatory. Music must bo 
played, arati must be made and Ramnam repeated, cost 
what it may. If my formula were accepted a procession 
of the meekest men and women, unarmed even with 
lathis would march with Ramnam on their lips, supposing 
that that was the bone of contention and draw down on 
their heads the whole of the Mussalman wrath. But if 
they would not accept that formula they would 
still proceed with the sacred name on their lips and 
fight every inch of the ground. But to stop music for 
fear of a row or because of an order of court is to deny 
one’s religion. 

But then there is the other side to the question. ’ Is 
continuous playing of music even while passing mosques- 
at prayer time always a religious necessity ? Is repeat- 
ing of Ramnam a similar necessity ? What about the 
charge that the fashion nowadays is to organise proces- 
sions purely for the sake of irritating Mussalmans and to- 



THE ORDER OF HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 219' 


make arati just at the time of prayer and to utter Ram-- 
vam not because it held religiously necessary but in 
order to create an occasion for a fight ? If such be the 
case it will defeat its own end and naturally the zest 
being wanting, a court’s order, a military display or a 
shower of brick-bats would end the irreligious show. 

A. religious necessity must therefore be clearly 
established. Ev’ery semblance of irritation must be 
avoided. A mutual understanding should be sincerely 
sought. And where it is not possible, an irreducible- 
minimum should be fixed making due allowance for the 
opposite sentiment and then without seeking the inter- 
vention of courts or inspite of a prohibition order a 
fight must be put up for that minimum. Let no one 
charge me with ever having advised or encouraged 
weakness or surrender on matters of principle. But I 
have said, as I say again, that every trifle must not bo 
dignified into a principle. 


August 19th, 1926 

“ THE ORDER OF HINDU MUSLIM UNITY ” 

By M. K. Gandhi 

Begum Moharaed Zahiuddin Meccai recently 
delivered an address before the Women’s Sarada 
Association at Bangalore. A correspondent has 
favoured me with a copy of her interesting speech from 
which I take the following : — 

“ There was no form of social service so sacred a service in 
the cause of Hindu Muslim Unity, tending as it does, to the good, 
not* merely of Mother India, but of humanity itself. Nothing 
could be more sinful than to sow discord and hatred between 
these two important sections of the Indian community. 



.220 


YOUNG INDIA 


“ They could understand the meaning of these degrading and 
disgraceful riots, if the God of the Hindus was distinct and 
separate from the God of the Mussalmans which however was 
not the case. They both worshipped one and the same God, and 
yet were ready to be led astray, and destroy each other in the 
name of that very God, for the sake of a petty matter like music 
before the mosque ! 

“A great Suf saint had sung, addressing the Almighty 
thus : ‘ The Hindu had tried and found Thee in his Image, the 
Zoroastrian is singing Thy praise over his sacred Fire. Even the 
unbeliever had identified Thee with Hature. But none has till 
now been able to deny Thy existence ! ” It was thus foolish, if not 
mad, for the Hindus and the Mussalmans to fight as they were 
•doing. It must be known that Islam has come on a mission of 
PEACE and PROGRESS, and not of war. It recognises all the 
Prophets and Messengers of God. It is the one religion that has put 
into actual practice the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood 
•of Man, and has taken all mankind into its purview, and described 
them as forming the limbs of a single body, which is rendered 
uneasy even if a single distant limb is in trouble, pain or agony. 
Every true Muslim should feel, and does feel, disgraced, at any 
^ct of a Muslim, in any part of the world, which is against these 
.sacred principles. 

“ The sacred Hindu scripture inculcates the very same 
principles, and Hindu DKafma enjoins their practice and 
observance. The Hindus and the Muslims should therefore 
•organise themselves not in self-defence^ which is too low an ideal, 
•degenerating into aggression, intolerance and provocative 
conduct, but to prevent the violation of the high principles of 
their resjiective Dharmas by their own oo-religionists attacking 
or molesting the members of the other community. Let hence- 
forward be instituted the Sacred Order of Hindu Muslim Unity and 
let Hindus and Muslims, men and women, enrol themselves, as 
.members, so that at the first sign of trouble the Mussalmans may 
think not of their own families and their mosques, but of their 
Hindu brethern and their temples, so as to save them, even at 
the sacrifice of their own lives from the attacks of misguided 
Muslims, and Let every Indian mother see that her 
.children dedicate themselves to this sacred cause, and the 



THE ORDER OF HINDU MUSLIM UNITY 221 


President was sanguine that this difficult problem would be 
solved, and the so-called leaders and protectors of communal 
interests would find their occupation gone.” 

The sentiments are admirable but their seems *to be 
no atmosphere for the formation of the Order suggested 
by the worthy lady. 






NON-CO-OPERATION 
CONGRESS AND SWARAJ 








17th April, 1924 

SCHOOL MASTERS AND LAWYERS 

By M. E. Gandhi 

“ I hope you have by this time been able to consult friends who* 
were led to modify, at Delhi, the Congress resolution regarding the 
Triple Boycott. What final decision have you come to ? Are you 
going to preach them over again in the same form ? 

“ As to the boycott of Councils, I may not say anything ; the 
leaders of the Swaraj Party might have clearly laid before you facts 
and arguments. The work they are doing and are likely to do is. 
before you. As to the boycott of schools and colleges, it has, if I 
may say from my own experience, completely failed. I may refer to 
my own case. Here there are two full-fledged High schools, attended 
by more than 500 pupils each, while the National High school has 
barely 30 boys on the roll. We have tried all possible ways and 
means for canvassing boys, but have failed. I have been convinced 
that people are not prepared for this boycott. 

“ As to the the third boycott, there were only a very few lawyers 
who gave up their practice. Now almost all have rejoined. The- 
number of court-going people never diminished. The Lavad Courts 
established by national workers never thrived and have since died- 
These courts, having had no power to enforce their decisions, and the 
people being not trained to submit, cannot be expected to attain any 
palpable success. 

“ Under these circumstances what are we — ^who boycotted our 
further education and prospects at the clarioncall of the Congress to* 
sacrifice for the sake of the country only one year — to do ? We have 
sacrificed not only one year but three. We established national’ 
schools for the people and the people heed them not. The sacrifice of 
the workers is not appreciated. Are not the national schools with 
such poor attendance a useless waste of the public money, energy 
and life? Does it not mean that our efforts and plans are premature ?‘ 
Our sacrifice gives no satisfaction to ourselves too. It is often a 
hindrance to patriotism or national enthusiasm. Khaddar is dearer 
15 



226 


YOUNG INDIA 


than mill-cloth and our means are poor. Though elected delegates 
to the Congress we caimot attend or have to refuse the seat, for want 
of the necessary money required for travelling and other expenses. 
We have to earn money not for luxury but as a necessity. But our 
ways are blocked by the Congress. 

“ I have a family to support and a delicate constitution, and 
hence cannot bear the hardships of village propaganda. The Congress 
has practically no work at present. What I think is that the 
Congress should arrange for the maintenance of workers and admit 
only those whom it can support. It should give permission to all 
others to follow their own pursuits patriotically and be soldiers of the 
militia (irregular army) ready at the country’s call whenever 
required. Such people will enter Government and semi-Government 
schools and teach their prescribed books and lessons with a patriotic 
angle of vision. They will join the bar and show to the people at 
every step what a waste of time and money the Courts are. They 
will enter the military and refuse to fire on their own brethren. And 
so on. I know 'not what you intend to do after your recovery. In 
the meanwhile I seek your advice. I think that I am doing no better 
service to the people and to the country by remaining the head master 
of the national school here, which is not appreciated and supported 
by the public. May I complete my law education and join the bar 
and do what humble services lean to the Motherland? Will you 
advise the Congress to remove these boycotts and devise some other 
ways and means for attaining freedom ? Or are you going to take up 
these boycotts in right earnest again? May we wait? 

P. S. It is no question of Conscience and Religion. I look at Non- 
co-operation only as a means.” 

The foregoing letter sums up succinctly the 
argument advanced by my correspondents and visitors 
against the boycott of schools and law courts. As usual 
the sting is in the tail. The post-script yields the secret 
of unbelief in the boycott. One need not regard every- 
thing as a matter of conscience or religion to be able to 
stick to it through thick and thin. Even one’s mesons 
may be so vital that giving them up may mean death. 
Lungs are the means whereby we breathe and sustain life. 



SCHOOL MA.STERS AND LAWYERS 


227 


They are not life. But their destruction is destruction of 
life itself. No one questions that non-co-operation is a 
means. The question is:-Is non-co-operation as con- 
-ceived in 1920 the only means of reaching our goal? The 
Congress decided that it was. But the Congress merely 
represents the opinion of the delegates for the time 
"being. Some of us evidently consider that it was a 
mistake to think that it was the only means. Some 
others think that it was one of the means and many 
more should have been adopted at the same time. Yet 
others, though they disbelieved in it, adopted it out of 
regard for the decision of the majority and because they 
think that the decision of the Congress have a man- 
*datory character and bind the minority whether in 
matters of principle or detail. Yet others adhere to 
the opinion formed by them in 1920 that non-co- 
operation as then conceived is the only means for 
achieving our goal. I belong to the last category and 
it will be my humble duty from time to time to show 
why it is the only means. My correspondent evidently 
belongs to the opposite school. 

I have repeatedly observed that no school of thought 
can claim a monopoly of right judgment. We are all 
liable to err and are often obliged to revise our judg- 
ments. In a vast country like this, there must be room 
for all schools of honest thought. And the least there- 
fore that we owe to ourselves as to others is to try to 
understand the opponent’s view-point and, if we cannot 
accept it, respect it as fully as we would expect him to 
respect ours. It is one of the indispensable tests of a 
healthy public life and therefore fitness for Swaraj. If 
we have no charity, and no tolerance, we shall never 
settle our differences amicably and must therefore al- 



328 


YOUNG INDIA 


ways submit to the arbitrament of a third party i. e. to* 
foreign domination. I invite the reader, then to share? 
with me the respect that is due to the view set forth by 
my correspondent and if he belongs to the correspon- 
dent’s school of thought, bear with me even though I 
cannot see eye to eye with him. 

In my opinion, the boycott of schools and law courts 
has been both a failure and a success. It has been 
largely, not wholly, a failure in that schools and law 
courts have not been effectively or even appreciably 
deserted. But it lias been a success in that the halo- 
surrounding Government schools and law courts has- 
disappeared. People believe, much more now than they 
did before, in the necessity of independent national 
schools and settlement of disputes by punchayats. 
Lawyers and Government schoolmasters have lost much 
of the artificial prestige they enjoyed five years ago. I 
count these as no small gains. Let me not be mis- 
understood. I do not undervalue the sacrifices and 
devotion to the country of schoolmasters and lawyers.. 
Dadabhai andGokhale were schoolmasters. Pherozeshab 
Mehta and Budruddin Tyebji were lawyers. But I 
would not have even these distinguished countrymen 
of ours to claim the exclusive monopoly of wisdom or 
ability to guide. The spinner, the weaver, the farmer,, 
the artisan, the trader have just as much right to shape 
the destiny of the country as the members of the so- 
called liberal professions. As the latter have represent- 
ed the arm of authority, we have been awed by themr 
and to that extent they have accustomed us to think 
that we can satisfy our wants only through the Govern- 
ment instead of teaching us that the Government is a 
creation of the people and merely an , instrument ' for 



SCHOOL MA.STEBS AND LAWYERS 229 

.-giving effect to their will. This fahe prestige of privi- 
leged classes has suffered a shock from which I hope it 
will never recover. 

That national schools and punchayats have not 
flourished, as they might have, is due to a variety of 
•causes, some avoidable and others unavoidable. We 
have been new to the work and therefore we have not 
known how to go about it. For me therefore the pover- 
ty of results is not a cause for disappointment but for 
greater and more enlightened effort. Our failures we 
can conver^t into so many steps to success. 

The village work frightens us. We who are town- 
bred find it trying to take to the village life. Our 
bodies in many cases do not respond to the hard life. 
But it is a difficulty which we have to face boldly, even 
heroically. If our desire is to establish Swaraj for the 
people, not substitute one class rule by another, which 
may be even worse. Hitherto the villagers have died 
in their thousands so that we might live. Now we 
might have to die s© that they may live. The difference 
will be fundamental. The former have died unknowing- 
ly and involuntarily. Their enforced sacrifice has de- 
graded us. If now we die knowingly and willingly, our 
sacrifice will ennoble us and the whole nation. Let 
us not flinch from the necessary sacrifice, if we will live 
as an independent self-respecting nation. 

The difficulty with the non-co-operating lawyers is 
greater still. They have unfortunately been used to a 
highly artificial life totally out of harmony with their 
national surroundings. I regard it as a crime that any 
lawyer or doctor should charge or get say Rs. 1,000 per 
day or for that matter even Rs. 100 per day. It is no 
answer to the indictment that it is the monied men 



230 


YOUNG INDIA 


who pay and there can be no harm, but it may be all to* 
the good, if lawyers take money from the rich people 
and use a part for the public good. If the profession 
was disinterested and charged only enough for main- 
tenance, the monied men would also have to revise their 
budget. As it is, we seem to be moving in a vicious 
circle. 

If under Swaraj we shall have to make the town 
life correspond to the village life, we shall be bound to- 
simplify the town mode of life. The beginning has to 
be made now. Why should lawyers feel so utterly help- 
less as they seem to do now? Is starvation the only 
alternative if they cannot resume practice? Is it im- 
possible for a resourceful lawyer to turn his attention 
to w^eaving or any other honourable toil ? 

It is difficult for me to advice non-co-operating 
lawyers and schoolmasters. If they believe in the boy- 
cott they should face all difficulties and continue the 
boycott. If they do not believe in it, they can without 
any disgrace attaching to their action rejoin the pro- 
fession. As I do not believe in the mandate theory, I do 
not consider it to be obligatory on any schoolmaster or 
lawyer to refrain from rejoining Government schools or 
law-courts because of the continuance of the boycott 
resolution. I would still advocate the retention of the 
boycott to be worked out not by propaganda for empty- 
ing Government schools and courts (that was done and 
had to be done during 1920 and 1921) but by the con- 
structive method of establishing and popularising 
national schools and punchayats. 



IS IT NON-CO-OPERATION ? 


231 


8th May, 1924 

IS IT NON-CO-OPERATION? 

By M, K. Gandhi 

The argument has been advanced that with the 
failure (in my opinion wrongly assumed) of the boycott 
of titles, schools, law-courts‘'% and Councils, non-co- 

^The following appeared in Young India of 15th May, 1924: 
Non-inconsistent. — A correspondent draws my attention to what 
he regards is an inconsistency between my statement to the press 
issued after my release regarding the Gurudwara movement, and the 
advice given by me just after Nankana Sahib tragedy. This is the 
statement made after my release : 

My friends (Akalis) informed me to my surprise that there 
was a general misapprehension in the Punjab that after the 
Nankana tragedy, I had expressed an opinion that the Gurdwara 
movement should have been postponed till after the attainment 
of Swaraj. I never expressed the opinion attributed to me as can 
be amply verified from my writings and speeches at that time. 

The correspondent quotes the following statement from my letter 
to the Sikhs after the Tragedy and regards it as inconsistent with the 
first. 

“ No one can be more eager for real reform in our temples 
and removal of all abuse than I. But let us not be party to 
measures that may be worse than the reform sought to be brought 
about. There are two ways open to you (Khalsa) either to 
establish arbitration boards for settlement of possession of ail 
Gurdwaras or postponement of the question till the attainment of 
Swaraj, 

The italics are the correspondent’s. I can see nothing inconsis- 
tent between the two statements. The first refers to the general 
movement and says that I never advised postponement till after the 
attainment of Swaraj. The second advised postponement of the 
question of possession of Gurudwaras till the attainment of Swaraj, if 
it could not be settled by arbitration. In this letter I have discussed 



^3*2 YOUNG INDIA 

operation is dead. The critics see nothing of non-co- 
operation in the slow and unexciting Khaddar 
programme. They forget that the four-fold boycott is 
like a scaffolding which is absolutely necessary till the 
whole structure is ready. It does not matter that the 
institutions, which are the symbols of the authority we 
seek to destroy, continue to exist so long as we do not 
make use of them. The fact is that we cannot erect our 
structure without the scaffolding of the four-fold 
boycott* And we must succeed if we can work the 
Congress organisation without the aid of these 
institutions and even in spite of them. Moreover, let us 
not forget that our boycott is not four-fold, but five-fold. 
The fifth is by far the most important i.e. boycott of 
foreign (not merely British) cloth. 

The boycott is the negative, though on that account 
none the less useful, part of our programme. Khaddar, 
national schools, panchayats, Hindu-Muslim unity, and 
uplift of the untouchable, the drunkard and the opium 
eater, is the positive part of our programme. The 

the propriety of taking possession by show of force. And my advice 
was that if arbitration did not succeed, and the choice lay between, 
possession by show of force or postponement, my advice was for 
postponement. The curious may refer to the letter itself which he 
will see in his file of Young India for 1921, and he will find that I have 
discussed in it the question of show of force. Nothing that has 
happened since has altered the view taken by me in that letter. I am 
convinced that no reform can be achieved by show of force. I know 
that there must be two parties to arbitration. If the other party 
does not agree, a Non -co-operator will not seek the protection of a 
British Court of Law. But if he must choose between show of force 
and resort to Court of Law, i. e. if he is not prepared to sacrifice for 
the time being what he considers his right, I have no hesitation in 
saying that he must go to law even though it be British rather than 
seek to gain his purpose by show of force. 



IS IT NON-CO-OPERATION ? 233 

.'greater our progress in it, the greater will be the 
progress towards the boycott and therefore, towards 
^Swaraj. Nature abhors a vacum. Therefore, construc- 
i;ion must keep pace with destruction. Even if all the 
titled friends gave up their titles, and if schools, courts 
-and Councils were entirely deserted, and being thus 
•embarrassed the Government abdicated in our favour, 
and if we had no constructive work to our credit, we 
•could not conduct Swaraj. We should be entirely 
helpless. I often wonder whether it is sufScientJy 
•realised that our movement is not one for mex-e change 
'Of personnel but for change of the system and the 
jmethods. Full Khaddar programme is, therefore, to me 
full Swaraj. The English interest in India is selfish 
.and in conflict with the national interest. It is anti- 
national, because of the illegitimate cotton interest. To 
’boycott, therefore, foreign cloth, is to sterilise the 
English and all other foreign interests. Boycott merely 
-of British cloth may harm the British, but can lead to 
no construction in India. Boycott of British cloth will 
•be a jump out of the frying pan into fire. Not before 
the foreign piece-goods trade is entirely replaced by 
home-spun, will the bleeding process cease. Boycott of 
foreign cloth, therefore, is the centre of our boycott 
programme. This central boycott cannot succeed until 
we universalise Khaddar. In order to achieve the 
•desirable end we will need to employ all our resources 
’to the fullest extent. We shall need men, money and 
machinery i. e. organisation. We cannot universalise 
Khaddar without Hindu-Muslim unity, without remov- 
ing untouchability. To make Khaddar successful is to 
demonstrate our capacity for self-government, Khaddar 
is a people’s programme, for success in which all, high 



234 


YOUNG INDIA. 


and low, rich and poor, Hindu and non-Hindu, must 
take part. 

But say the sceptics, ‘ How can Khaddar bring 
Swaraj ? Will Englishmen then retire in our favour ? ’’ 
My answer is, — yes and no. Yes, because Englishmen 
will then find that their interest must be coincident 
with that of India. They will then be content to remain 
in India as her servants, for they will have then found 
that they cannot impose their custom upon us. When, 
therefore, Khaddar becomes successful, Englishmen’s 
hearts will have been changed. They will regard it then 
as an honour to be our allies instead of regarding it as 
they do now their right to be our masters. My answer 
is ‘No’, if we intend to drive out Englishmen and min' 
every English interest, legitimate or otherwise. Such is 
not the goal of the non-violent movement. Non- 
violence has its limits. It refuses to hate or generate 
hatred. Indeed by its very nature, it is incapable of so- 
doing. ‘But’ the sceptics further argue, ‘Suppose the 
English refuse to revise their system and insist upon 
holding India by the sword, what can universal use of 
Khaddar do ? ’ in thus doubting the eflScacy of 
Khaddar, they forget that Khaddar is an indispensable 
preparation for Civil Disobedience. And this, every one' 
admits, is an irresistible force. Without the universal 
adoption of Khaddar, I see no chance whatsoever of 
universal civil, i. e. non-violent, disobedience. Any 
single district that can be fully organised for Khaddar 
is, if it is also trained for suffering, ready for Civil 
Disobedience. And I have not a shadow of doubt that 
even one district thus organised can make itself 
irresistible even though the whole might of the- 
Government may be matched against it. 



parody of RELIGIOIT 


335 * 


"Who shall bell the cat?’ is the last question. That 
question is, however, irrelevant to the present inquiry. 
The question I set out to answer was whether construc- 
tive programme i. e. Khaddar could be considered part 
of Non-co-operation. I have attempted to prove that it 
is an integral part of Non-co-operation in its positive 
aspect. 


^2nd May, 19M 

PARODY OF RELIGION 

By M. K. Gandhi 

A Delhi correspondent writes: — 

“ There are about sixty houses of Chamars in Rohed in the 
district of Rohtak. These are all laboures and have no property 
rights in the village land. They used to take water from the 
village pond so long as it was available. But after that supply 
failed they were at the mercy of the Zamindars for the well 
water. The latter would keep them waiting for hours before 
condescending to issue it to the poor untouchables. Latterly in 
order to avoid this delay a committee was appointed with a view 
to devise a remedy. This committee contained one Chamar. It 
decided that the Chamars should appoint a member of the Mali 
(gardener) caste to draw water for them and pay him Rs. 15 per 
month. The Chamars were disposed to agree but now they feel 
they ought not to pay what is after all a heavy and iniquitous 
monthly tax upon them. What is one to do ? Should the Chamars 
approach the Government officials for a piece of land to dig their 
own well? Will it not be in conflict with Non-co-operation.” 

The answer to the question asked is exceedingly simple. The 
Chamars are no non-co-operators. They have no politics. But the 
staunchest Non-co-operator is not precluded from buying or getting 
land from the Government for necessary purposes. The less he does 
so, undoubtedly the better. But there is no bar against it in the 
Congress resolution. A non-co-operator who understands the spirit 
of the resolution will certainly not buy land from the Government for 



336 


YOUNG INDIA 


profit. In the case in point the land is required for the necessaries 
that nature has imposed upon us. And if the Chamars can get land 
from the Government for digging a well, the staunchest non-co-oper- 
.ator in my opinion need not hesitate to assist them to get it. 

But the answer to the question is the least difficult part of my 
itask. What is to be said of the Hindu zamindars who would not have 
the decency and the ordinary humanity to issue water in due time 
to men who belong to their own religion and who serve them in 
hundreds of ways? And all this callousness in the name of religion ? If 
their well is likely to be polluted by the Chamars using them, way 
will they not pay the gardener for the luxury of enjoying their ex- 
clusiveness ? Why will they not give them a plot of land for digging a 
well in it ? Does my correspondent know whether the zamindars have 
been approached for a plot of land ? If a deputation waits on them, 
they will perhaps not only grant a plot but have a well dug at their 
expense. If the attempt has not been made, it should be made. 
Immediate relief may be obtained by securing a piece of land from 
the Government. But the campaign against untouchability is an 
attempt to blot it out from Hinduism. No numbers of separate wells 
will do it. Hindu reformers have therefore a double task before them 
to secure relief for the suffering brothern, and to change, by a proper 
appeal to them, the hearts of those who believe in the evil and savage 
custom of regarding our own kith and kin as untouchables. 


loth Matj^ 1924 

EMPIRE GOODS BOYCOTT 

BY M. K. Gandhi 

It is curious how the question of the Empire goods 
boycott continues to challenge public attention from 
time to time. From the stand-point of non-violent 
non-co-operation it seems to me to be wholly indefensible. 
It is retaliation pure and simple and as such punitive. 
So long, therefore, as the Congress holds to non-violent 
non-co-operation, so long must boycott of British, as 



EMPIRE GOODS BOYCOTT 


237 ' 


distinguished from other foreign goods, be ruled out. 
And if I am the only Congressman holding the view, I 
must move a resolution at the next Congress repealing 
the resolution in the matter carried at the last 
Special Session. 

But for the moment, I propose to discuss not the 
ethics but the utility of the retaliatory boycott. The 
knowledge that even the Liberals joined the Boycott 
campaign cannot make one shrink from the inquiry,. 
On the contrary, if they come to believe with me that 
the retaliatory boycott that they and the Congress took 
up was not onh’ ineifective but was one more demonstra- 
tion of our impotent rage and waste of precious 
energy. I would appeal to them to take up with zeal 
and determination the boycott of a/Z foreign cloth and 
replacing same not with Indian mill-cloth but with 
hand-spun Khaddar. 

I have had the pleasure of reading the report of the* 
Boycott Committee. It must be, has remained, the 
last word on the utmost that can be done in the shape- 
of boycott of British or Empire goods. The Report, in 
my opinion, presents a formidable case, not for but 
against such boycott. It frankly states that the bulk 
of the Empire goods, such for instance as railway mate- 
rial, is imported by the Government or English firms 
that the trifles such as scents, soaps, boots imported 
ai-6 mostly consumed by those easy-going, luxury-loving- 
Indians who are never likely to take to the boycott It 
will be found on a calm consideration of the figures that 
even if the boycott of the trifles was scrupulously carri- 
ed out by every Congressman and every Liberal, the 
amount would not be at the outside more than one crore 
of rupees per year. He must be a brave optimist who- 



238 


YOUNG INDIA 


-could believe that the Kenya Englishman or Englishmen 
in general, would be made to change their policy by 
.reason of such boycott. 

‘But’ says the critic, ‘see what a flutter was created 
ill Cheapside when the Empire goods boycott resolution 
of the Bombay Municipal corporation was cabled free 
-of charge by Reuter.’ Surely we know enough of the 
British trade methods not to be unduly elated by such 
flutters. They are often put on in order to inflame the 
gullible public against ‘the unscrupulous Indian agitators 
who are bent upon injuring England’. When the 
-excitement is not put on, it is a symptom of the British 
merchantile sensitiveness to every commercial fluctu- 
ation or movement. It is by such sensitiveness that 
it ever remains prepared for emergencies of every 
conceivable type. I would ask the public, therefore, 
never to rely upon the excitements or approbations 
from England, or for that matter from any foreign 
state. Their fear or praise of our action can never 
secure us in our position if our action which is either 
feared or praised is not, in itself substantial Ij’- effec- 
tive. 

If our rage did not blind us, we should be ashamed 
of the boycott resolution when we realised that we 
depended upon British goods for some of our national 
requirements. When we may not do without English 
'books and English medicines, should we boycott English 
watches because we can procure Geneva watches ? And 
if we will not do without English books because we need 
■them, how shall we expect the importer of British 
watches or perfumes to sacrifice his trade ? My very 
English efficient nurse whom 1 loved to call ‘ tyrant ’ 
because she insisted in all loving ways on my taking 



EMPIRE GOODS BOYCOTT 


239 


imore food and more sleep than I did, with a smile curling 
•round her lips and insidious twinkle in her eyes, gently 
remarked after I was safely removed to a private ward 
escorted by the house-surgeon and herself: “ As I was 
shading you with my umbrella I could not help smiling 
that you, a fierce boycotter of everything British, 
probably owed your life to the skill of a British surgeon 
handling British surgical instruments administering 
British drugs, and to the ministrations of a British nurse. 
Do you know that as we brought you here, the umbrella 
that shaded you was of British make The gentle 
nurse as she finished the last triumphant sentence 
evidently expected my complete collapse under her 
loving sermon. But happily I was able to confound 
her self-assurance by saying: “When will you people 
begin to know things as they are ? Do you know that I 
do not boycott anything merely because it is British ? 
I simply boycott all foreign cloth because the dumping 
•down of foreign cloth in India has reduced millions of 
my people to pauperism.” I was even able to interest 
lier in the Khaddar movement- Probably she became a 
•convert to it. Any way she understood the propriety, 
the necessity and the utility of Khaddar, but she could 
only laugh (and rightly) against the wholly ineffective 
and meaningless boycott of British goods. 

If the champions of this retaliatory boycott will look 
at their homes and their own belongings, they will, I 
Iiave no doubt, discover the ludicrousness of their posi- 
tion even as my nurse friend did, under the supposition 
that I belonged to that boycott school. 

I yield to no one in my desire to see justice done to 
■our countrymen in Kenya or to win Swaraj at the 
earliest possible moment. But I know that angry 



240 


YOUNG INDIA 


impatience can only frustrate the very end we have in 
view. What is it then in which all parties, — Liberals, 
pro-Council wallas, No-Changers and others-can success- 
fully combine to enable us to achieve our end ? I have^ 
already given the answer. But I must examine it fully 
in the next issue and show why it furnishes the only 
feasible solution. 


^:^Hd May, 1924 

BOYCOTT FOEEIGN CLOTH 
By M. K. Gandhi 

Last week I endeavoured to show the futility of the- 
boycott of Empire goods^ campaign. I submit that it is. 
even harmful in that it distracts the country’s attention 
from the only effective and indispensable boycott. I have 
admitted more than once that if we eliminate non- 
violence from our consideration, those who do not believe 
with me that non-violence in politics is the only remedy 
for achieving our goal, and are satisfied that non-violent 
methods have failed, are not only justified in applying, 
other remedies if they find them more effective, but are* 
bound to do so. My point, however, is that boycott of 
Empire goods is not at all feasible so long as the present 
system is in existence. So far as I can see, the only 
alternative to non-violence and all it implies is an 
armed rebellion, [f we wish to make preparations for 
it, boycott of Empire goods has not only a legitimate* 
but it has a necessary place in the national programme^ 
Its retention and a fierce propaganda in its favour must 
* See page 336. 



EMPIRE GOODS BOYCOTT 24i 

increasingly heat our blood as we realise our impotence. 
The natural consequence of such propaganda must there- 
fore result in undisciplined violence all round. It 
would not then matter, that it is crushed. It will still 
be considered a training in armed rebellion. Each crush- 
ing will certainly bring demoralisation among many but 
will bring increased determination among a few. And 
out of that small determined band may arise an army of 
soldiers such even as William the Silent surrounded 
himself with. If the national workers have come to the 
conclusion that India cannot write new history but must 
do as the European countries have done, I would under- 
stand and appreciate their campaign of boycott of Em- 
pire goods. Even though it may never succeed, it must 
be kept up as an ideal because it would be regarded as 
one of the factories for generating the necessary steam. 
India has a right to adopt the time-worn method, if she 
chooses to, and no power on earth can deprive her of 
that right. 

But I venture to say, with confidence, that the 
way of the sword is not open to India. I dare to* 
prophesy that if India chooses that way, she must be 
prepared 

(1) Either to submit to foreign rule for genera- 
tions to come, 

(2) or to submit to exclusively Hindu or exclu- 
sively Mussalman rule almost in perpetuity. 

I know that there are Hindus who if they cannot 
have a purely Hindu India are prepared to make the 
best terms with the Englishmen, and I know too, that,, 
there are Mussalmans who, till they are able to impose 
a purely Mussalman rule on India are prepared to 
resign themselves to the English domination. To this* 

16 



242 


YOUITG INDIA 


minority I have no argument to address. They must 
continue to plough the sands. But I know that there is 
a very large majority that is impatient of foreign 
domination and is anxious to find an effective method 
of ridding India of it. I do not despair of convincing 
them that Swaraj in which Hindus, Mussalmans and all 
others professing different creeds can participate on 
equal terms is attainable in a much shorter time than 
they can imagine possible if the thinking portion adopts 
means that are strictly non-violent and of further 
convincing them that attainment of such Swaraj is 
impossible through any other means. 

For the time being, however, I propose to assume 
that the Congress creed being what it is, Congressmen 
are precluded from creating an atmosphere predisposed 
to violence. Ineffective boycott of Empire goods must 
create such an atmosphere, and therefore I go so far as 
to say that the boycott resolution was ultra-vires of the 
Congress creed. But this point can only be decided by 
the Congress. 

Lei me, therefore, confine the reader’s attention to 
the alternative boycott of foreign cloth. I suggest to 
the Liberals, Nationalists and Congressmen that if they 
will till adopt the handspun Khaddar for their own 
personal use to the exclusion of all foreign or Indian 
mill cloth and if they will themselves religiously spin 
for a definite period every day and persuade every 
member of their family to do likewise, and if they will 
io the extent of their ability introduce the wheel and the 
use of Khaddar among their neighbours the nation can 
bring about the boycott of foreign cloth even in a year’s 
time. Even as they may not on any pretext whatsoever 
use foreign cloth, they may not use cloth manufactured 



, EMPIRE GOODS BOYCOTT 243 

in our mills. I must distinguish between the two prohibi- 
tions. Boycott of foreign cloth is a vital necessity for 
all time. There is no question of a permanent national 
boycott of mill-cloth. But Indian mills alone can never 
supply the present demand for cloth, whereas the 
Charkha and the hand-loom can. But the Khaddar, the 
product of the Charkha, has yet to become popular and 
universal. It can only be so if the thinking portion of 
India will make the commencement. They must there- 
fore restrict their use of cloth to Khaddar only. 
Our mills need no patronage from us. Their goodst 
are popular enough. Moreover the nation has no 
control over the mills. They are not philanthropic 
institutions. They are frankly selfish. They have 
their own propaganda. If they recognise the signs 
of the times they will help the foreign cloth boycott 
movement by cheapening their cloth and taking to 
areas not served at present by Khaddar. They can, if 
they will, avoid competition with Khaddar and be 
satisfied with supplementing it. Boycott of foreign cloth 
cannot be immediately accomplished unless every national 
worker j'eligiously avoids the of mill-made cloth. Surely 
the proposition is too simple to need any argument. 
Khaddar which has to find a market must command 
preference among enlightened men. 

I have hitherto examined the use of Khaddar as the 
only effective and speedy means of bringing about a 
successful boycott of foreign cloth as distinguished 
from and as an alternative to that of Empire goods. But 
when to this potency of Khaddar is added its power to 
feed the starving millions, nhe case becomes irresistible. 

It is perhaps now easy to understand why a 
Charkha atmosphere has to be created and why every 



244 


YOUNG INDIA 


man and woman and child who understands the 
necessity of the Charkha for the national wellbeing: 
must religiously spin for some time every day. The 
peasantry of India is among the most industrious in the 
world as it is perhaps also the idlest. Both its industry 
and idleness are imposed upon it. It must work to make 
its fields yield their harvest. The East IndiaCompany 
by killing hand-spinning made it idle when it had no full 
labour to do. The peasantry will now return to the 
Charkha only when we set the example. Mere precept 
will produce little impression upon it. And when 
thousands spin for love, it is possible to give higher 
wages for spinning if we would keep the same price for 
Khaddar. I have myself been able to sell Khaddar 
manufactured at the Satyagrah-Ashram cheaper*^ 
because I bad maunds of yarn lovingly thrown to me by 
the Punjabi sisters during my tour in the Punjab in 1919- 
It was possible for me, if I had liked, to pay higher 
wages to professional spinners, and not reduce the price 
of Khaddar. I did not do so because at that early stage 
of the Khaddar movement, I was paying so high a price 
as 4 annas for one pound of yarn indifferently spun. 

If the Liberals and the Congressmen stung by the 
Kenya decision hurled the ineffective boycott of Empire 
goods at the heads of the white colonists of Kenya, why 
will they not in their cooler moments concentrate their 
effort upon the complete success of the Khaddar move- 
ment and thereby ensure the boycott of all foreign 
cloth? Need I prove that the boycott of foreign cloth 
will not only bring relief to the Kenya Indians- but it. 
will also bring Swaraj ? 



THE PLIGHT OF TEACHERS 


245 


24th July, 1924 

THE PLIGHT OF TEACHERS 
BY M. K Gandhi 

After describing the declining condition of national 
schools in a district, where out of fourteen, seven have 
'died out and the rest are sinking, and where attendance 
is reduced from 2000 to 500, the head master of one of 
them writes ; 

“To be frank, the hearts of many of us, teachers of the national 
.schools, sink when they think of their half-starved families and their 
crushing debts, and misgivings arise as to whether it is wise or 
foolish for a man embarrassed with debts to undergo so much suffer- 
ing and whether it is advisable or not to serve the country in other 
ways than as starving schoolmasters. I should mention here that 
some of these teachers gave up at the call of the country much more 
lucrative situations:” 

This tale of woe need not frighten us. Nations are 
made after much travail. Either we must die like flies 
in an armed rebellion, than submit to military autocracy 
■and in the distant and dim future hope to have demo- 
cratic rule ; or by patient, natural, unpereeived suffering 
-evolve as a self-ruling self-respecting nation. It is by 
sufferings such as the correspondent describes that we 
shall find a remedy for the difficulties that face us. 
These constitute the real training in Swaraj. The fault 
is not wholly the parents’. It is inherent in our 
surroundings. We have not yet learnt the virtue of 
•sustained work in defiance of all odds. Teachers are 
the centre round whom the whole of the national 
•education system must revolve. If they lose their 
balance, the system must topple. But the teachers 
iiiive been inexperienced. They have not all had the 



246 


YOUNG INDIA 


unquenchable fire for keeping alive the taste for national 
education. They have not che organising ability, nor 
the power of concentration and consecration. Every- 
where the workers instead of specialising in one branch 
of service have dabbled in everything with the result 
that they have been able to do nothing thoroughly. But 
this was inevitable. We are new to the game. Our 
rulers have trained us as clerks and put us to work 
requiring little thinking and less initiative. But the 
old order is changing. In the first flush of enthusiasm 
we seemed to be doing well if not very well. Now that 
the enthusiasm has died out and the moisture of public 
support has dried up, only the hardiest plants will 
survive. Let me hope the schools and the school-masters 
that still remain are of the right stuff. They must beg 
from door to door for maintenance and not feel ashamed 
if they are honest workers. 

The head master has asked also specific questions 

which being of general utility I copy and answer below. 

Q. '‘How long can the poor teachers embarrassed with increas- 
ing debts continue to have connection with these schools working on 
stravation allowance ?” 

A. Till death even as a soldier fights till he is 
victorious or, which is the same thing, droups down dead. 

Q. “How long will the authorities continue these schools at a 
great loss of money, if even 1 percent of the people do not want 
them ?’* 

A. No school has a right to exist if the people do 
not want it. But I would blame the authorities if the 
people who brought a school into being afterwards do 
not want it. 

Q- ‘‘Education can be suspended and workers can suffer for one 
year or two years or three years, but what will be the case if the 
fight for Swaraj continues for an indefinite period 



THE PLIGHT OF TEACHERS 247 

A, Those who can suffer for one to three years will 
find themselves inured to suffering for thirty years* 

Q. “How can the few boys that really want national education 
read where no national school exists.” 

A. If the parents or the boys or girls for that 
matter are resourceful, they will find out a way. It is 
superstition to think that education can only be had at 
schools or only through English or in a particular 
orthodox style. To learn spinning and weaving is an 
education of first class importance at the present mo- 
ment. Let us also remember that the majority of Indian 
villages have no schools at all. 

Q. “How long should our countrymen be allowed to vote for a 
resolution which they will never carry out in practice? All will vote 
for boycott of Governnoient schools but very few of * these voters 
will send their boys to national schools.” 

A. Not one minute longer than I can help. All my 
fight in the A. L 0. 0. was directed towards our being 
true to our resolutions. 

I know that the replies I have given will be 
considered unsatisfactory by many. But I dare say 
that they are the only correct and practical answers. 
We must do away with camouflage. If the nation as a 
whole does not want national schools in answer to the 
boycott of (not supplementary to) Government schools, 
it must be altered. The minority that may still want 
the boycott must make good their desire by running 
their own national schools, but not under the Congress 
aegis. These schools will be run only where they are 
wanted. If there be only one such school, it will 
continue without being disheartened. Faith knows no 
disappointment. 



248 


YOUNG INDIA 


7th Axigust, 1924 
BELOW THE BELT 
By M. K. Gandhi 

What has been said about the Government so often 
is being proved again, viz, that no matter what it grants 
to popular clamour it always insists on having its way 
by hook or by crook. The Press Law is gone only to be 
replaced by new activities under the laws of sedition 
and libel. Everything the Government were able to do 
under the Press Law is now being done without it and 
without difiBculty. The extraordinary judgment given 
against the Chromcle^ does but confirm this view. It is 
difficult to believe that a public servant can possibly 
bring an action for damages for comment upon his 
acts as such made by a journalist in the discharge of his 
profession. I understand that the case against the 
Chronicle is not the first of its kind. The Binde 
Mataram and the Zamindar of Lahore had to pay 
damages under similar circumstances. Which is 
worse ? Forfeiture under the defunct law or damages 
under a libel suit? After the result of the Chronicle case, 
Avho can dare criticise frankly and freely the acts of . 
Government servants ? The editor of a daily newspaper 
when he begins writing bis leading article does not 
weigh his words in golden scales. He may be betrayed 
into a hasty word. Must he pay for it even though he 
did it obviously in good faith, without malice and in the 
public interest? The writer in the Chronicle certainly 
did not know Mr, Painter and had no more interest in 
maligning him than the learned judge himself who has 
awarded what I venture to regard as vindictive damages, 

* See foot note in page 260. 



BELOW THE BELT 


249 


The public will refuse to believe that Mr. Painter 
iiad suffered anything because of the Chronicle com- 
ments. But I make bold to think that he has lost more 
in public estimation by his victory than by the Chronicle 
comment. He has cleared nothing by getting a verdict 
against the Chronicle. But he has shown that he is not 
<5apable in a sportsman~iike manner of standing strong 
public criticism. I feel sorry for him. 

What, however, I am concerned about is the position 
■of journalists in view of this case. One is not always 
^ble to prove one’s convictions and, if one is to criticise 
public acts and their doers, it is necessary to set forth 
one’s convictions without being called upon always to 
prove them. For instance I feel morally certain that 
^he judgment of the judge in Sir Sankaran Nair’s case 
was warped. I am morally certain that the judge was 
politically biased in favour of Sir Michael O’Dwyer. 
And yet if what I have said be regarded libellous and 
if the Judge sent me notice of action I should have to 
tender a humble, abject and unconditional apology for 
having expressed my candid opinion in the interest of 
public good. I should have to tender the apologv 
hecause I could not prove what I have stated. 

Mr. Painter is but an unconscious pawn in the big 
.^ame. This Government is making hay while the sun 
shines upon it. We seem to be disorganised — a house 
-divided against itself. Hindus and Mussalmans would 
gladly continue to indulge in the pleasant pastime 
of breaking one another’s heads. Civil disobedience is 
a far-off cry. Whilst we are fighting among ourselves, 
the Government is consolidating its powei% in every 
possible manner. We may not blame it. It is perfectly 
natural for it. These libel actions are calculated to 



250 


YOUNG INDIA 


demoralise Indian journalism and make public criticfencD 
over-cautious and timid. I am no lover of irresponsible 
or unjustifiably strong criticism. But the caution to be^ 
beneficial must come from within, not super-imposed 
from without. 

One thing is clear to me. If we have lost ground 
by our dissensions, political or religious, the Government 
have lost more by its taking advantage of our misfor- 
tunes and by seeking to punish innocent criticism of 
public officers for their public conduct, by inducing or 
permitting the latter to embark upon libel actions. We 
may feel too paralysed for immediate effort but every 
act of the Government which is meant to take a mean 
advantage of our weakness and every hit below the- 
belt does but intensify our opposition to it. The' 
paralysis will be shortlived, the opposition must be* 
conterminous with the existence of the system which 
makes our unfortunate position possible. 


14th August^ 1924 
WANTED EXCITEMENT 
By M. K. Gandhi 

I present the readers with extracts from a letter 
received from a lawyer who has made considerable* 
sacrifices in the national cause. When he non-co-opera- 
ted he sold out his books. He is now despondent. He ends 
his letter by saying, ‘ I have written this letter only to- 
relieve my surcharged min,d. If it is ignored, I shall 
not feel disappointed.* I cannot, ignore any genuine* 
article, I have therefore adopted the middle course. L 
have boiled down the letter by expunging soiTowful and* 



WANTED EXCITEMENT 251 

admonitory portions. Here then are the extracts that call 
for comment, 

“The charkha, Hindu-Muslim unity and removal of untouch- 
ability have not appealed to the masses for the last two years. 
There is no sign of coming change. 

The no-changers should form their programme in conformity 
with human nature. They should take into consideration that there 
must be excitement to call forth mass-enthusiasm. Satyagraha is the 
best form of excitement- But it should be a direct and open fight 
with the Government. Inter-communal Satyagraha is harmful. It 
only gives advantage to the Government to fight in the darkness and 
behind the trenches at safe distance. It leaves plenty of way for 
intrigues and mischievous propaganda. To enter into open fight with 
the Government strong issues should be selected on which wider 
public sympathy can be enlisted. Any of the following issues will 
fulfil these conditions, one of which may be selected. 

1. Boycott of courts and establishment of arbitration in villages,, 
towns and cities with offices for registration of documents. 

2 . Boycott of currency by replacing it with hundis. 

3. Suppression of drinks and intoxicating drugs.” 

I do not believe that we have worked enough among 
the masses to entitle us to know that three things do 
not appeal to them. What experience we have of the 
masses i. e. the villages goes to show that the charkha 
has appealed to them. They simply need organising. 
But we who claim to be their leaders refuse to go to the 
villages and IfH^e in their midst and deliver the life- 
sustaining message of the charkha. The writer simply 
does not know the masses. Or he should know that the 
Hindu-Mussalman masses do not quarrel. Delhi is not a 
village. And there too it would be a libel to say that 
the poor people quarrelled. We incited them to the 
fratricidal fight. The untouchability is undoubtedly a 
difficult point among the masses. It does however appeal 
to them, only it appeals in a way we do not like. They 
hug the exclusiveness which they have inherited for 



‘252 


YOUNG INDIA 


.ages. But if we cannot, by ouv purity, unselfishness 
and patience, cure them of the disease, vve must perish 
as a nation. The sooner every political reformer realises 
the fact, the better it is for him and the country. We 
must refuse to give up the struggle or postpone it till 
.after Swaraj. Postponement of it means postponement 
of Swaraj. It is like wanting to live without lungs. 
'Those who believe that Hindu- Muslim tension and un- 
touchability can be removed after Swaraj are living in 
the dream-land. They are too fatigued to grasp the 
significance of their proposition. The three things must 
be an integral part of any programme of Swaraj. But 
though the task is difficult, it is'not impossible. I claim 
therefore that this thre^-fold programme of construc- 
tion is in strict conformity with human nature as it 
•exists in India. It is in keeping with the daily require- 
ments of a people that is bent on making progress. 

But the friend says, there must he ‘ excitement.’ I 
do not know what the word means. For workers there 
is enough excitement in the three things. Go to any 
village, put up a wheel and call the villagers to embrace 
their untouchable brethren. The children will dance 
round the forgotten wheel and the villagers will be 
inclined to pelt you out of their midst fbr asking them 
to embrace the untouchables unless you ask them in a 
reasonable and sweet way. This is ‘ excitement ’ that 
giveth life. But there is another variety of it which 
kills’. It is momentary excitement that blinds people 
and makes them create a splash for a moment. That 
kind of excitement cannot bring Swaraj. I can conceive 
Its use for a fighting people prepared to wrest power 
from other hands. The problem in India is not quite so 
:simple. We are not prepared and we are not fighters 



WANTED EXCITEMENT 253-^ 

with arms. The Englishmen do not rule merely by 
force. They have seductive ways also. They can 
carefully conceal their fist in soft-looking gloves. The 
moment we show intelligent organisation, honest but 
unbendable purpose and prefect and disciplined cohesion 
they will hand over the whole administration to us with- 
out a blow and serve India on our terms, as we to-day 
unwittingly or unwillingly slave for them on their 
terms. 

Satyagraha is not excitement of the second variety. 
It dies in such atmosphere. It needs the development 
of calm courage that knows no defeat and despises 
revenge. Even inter-communal satyagraha (if it is 
satyagraha) strengthens the nation for fighting the* 
Government. The unseemly fight between no-changers 
and pro-changers is not satyagraha in any sense of the- 
term. The disgraceful events of Delhi are clearly not 
satyagraha. The only instances of inter-communal 
satyagraha are the Vaikom and Tarkeshwar. I know 
something of Vaikom because I am supposed to be 
directing it. It must succeed if the satyagrahis are* 
patient, absolutely truthful, absolutely non- violent, yes, 
in thought, word and deed, and if they are gentle 
towards their opponents and remain fixed to their 
minimum. If they fulfil the conditions, the orthodox 
Hindus will bless them and they will strengthen and 
weaken th,e national cause. Of Tarkeshwar I know next 
to nothing. But the result can only be good if it is true 
satyagraha. 

The correspondent’s method of bringing about a 
state of ‘excitement’ is in keeping with his misunder- 
standing of satyagraha. He does not realise that arbitra- 
tion courts and registration of documents, if they have 



•254 


YOUNG INDIA 


the element of compulsion in them, must defeat the very 
end the writer has in view. And if they are devoid of 
•compulsion, they will offer less excitement than the 
wheel if only because no one will care to register 
•documents in private courts. Boycott of currency 
without the stick behind will be still less exciting. I 
would give much to be able to revive liquor shops 
picketting if a calm atmosphere can be established and 
'“peacefur picketting can be found. Experience shows 
that our picketting in 1921 was not all peaceful. 

True solution is to be found from within. It is not 
the masses but we that have lost faith. For the 
•correspondent who is in charge of a Oongrees committee 
•says that resignations are pouring in upon him. Why ? 
Because those who are resigning have no faith in the 
programme. Whereas hitherto they were playing, 
now they are taking themselves and the nation seriously. 
They are responding to truth. I regard these resigna- 
tions a distinct gain to the cause. If all play the game 
and either carry out the resolutions or resign, we 
•should know where we are. To the secretary in 
.charge I would suggest that he should invite the 
electors, if there are any at all on his register, to elect 
•their representatives. If the members were practically 
self appointed, as I fear is the case in many places, 
the secretary may safely remain the sole true represen- 
tative of the Congress, if he has faith in himself and the 
programme. He is then free to devote his whole time 
and attention to spinning. I promise that he will not 
:find himself the only one so devoted to spinning. There 
as no cause for despondenqy for a man who has faith 
.and resoJutioin. 



THE STUDENTS AND MALABAR 


255 


21th August, 1924 

THE STUDENTS AND MALABAR 

A very interesting function last week was the 
presentation to Mr. Gandhi of a purse of Rs. 1229 by 
Principal Kirpalani on behalf of the students of theGuja- 
rat Yidyalaya, He was specially requested to visit the 
Yidyalayaand to address the students on the occasion. 

Principal Kirpalani opened the proceeding with a 
touching little welcome speech. ‘We are grateful at 
your coming but we have nothing to welcome you with’ 
said he. Adopting the fine little poem in Gitaiijali he 
said, 

“We were fast asleep, and did not know that the king was 
coming. Some one did say ‘The king will come.’ But we said, No 
one can come.’ A knocking at the door was heard, and some one 
warned us that it was the king’s messenger. But we heard him not. 
We said it was the wind that was blowing. Another loud knock 
was heard. Some one suggested, ‘It is the rumbling of the chariot 
wheels.’ No, we contended, it was the rumbling of the clouds. We 
left aside our charkhas, hoping to take them up when the king came, 
but had never the slightest idea that the king would surprise the 
-drowsy sleepers of the night so soon.” With poignant, self-reproach- 
ful sarcasm he said; ‘You have come too soon, Bapu. We have not 
had time enough to get our wheels ready and set them in motion. 
We have not even had time, some of us, to change our mill-made 
-clothing. You have come sooner than we bargained for. How shall 
we welcome you, who is come upon us like the poets’ king of the 
<dark night ? We have not the things that would delight your heart. 
We have just a few rupees, a little yarn we have spun during the 
last few days to give you and a tattered mat to seat you on.” 

The purse presented, Mr. Gandhiji addressed a few 
words to students. A brief summary of the speech 
will not be without interest to the readers of Young 
India. 



256 


YOUNG INDIA 


The king, said Mr. Gandhi, had only to thank 
himself, if they were not ready to receive him as they 
would. He promised to be away for six years, and he 
had returned four years too soon. How could they be 
ready to receive him before his time ? But he was sure 
that they had done all that they could do, and he was 
deeply thankful for it. 

He had a letter from a professor of the Vidyalaya 
from which he learnt that a hot controversy was raging 
in their debating halls as to whether one should spin 
for Gandhiji, or for the country. He had been asked 
to settle the question for them and he would try to do- 
it as best as he could. 

There were dijfferent ways of looking at the thing,, 
and to him, both were right What is Gandhi ? He 
may be the hero of a day, and a thing done for him 
must cease, as soon as he ceases to hold the popular 
mind. At best Gandhi was a thing or entity of a 
temporary nature, as compared to the country which 
was of a permanent nature. He was therefore wiser 
who did a thing out of allegiance to the country in 
preference to Gandhi. On the other hand he could 
understand a thing being done for the love of Gandhi. 
But there were different ways of doing things for the 
sake of Gandhi, One may share Gandhi’s faith in the 
charkha, and yet may be too lazy to spin.^ It may be 
that Gandhi’s name will help him to sha^ke off his 
lethargy and for the love of him he may begin plying 
the wheel. That to him was a legitimate use of 
Gandhi’s name. But that was the limit beyond which 
one could not be permitted to go. 

Oi:i the contrary one may have absolutely no faith in 
the charkha, and yet he may reconcile himself to y^'ork- 



THE STUDENTS AND MALABAR 


257 


ing it for Gandhi’s sake. This last, in his opinion, was 
hardly proper or being true to oneself and the thing he 
wants more than any thing else to-day is being true to 
oneself,, freedom from camouflage, freedom from 
hypocrisy. 

There was another way of looking at the problem. 
There is a thing like doing something for the sake of a 
principle or a religious vow. In that connection he 
would say that attachment or love for one’s dear ones 
may help a man to a very great extent. Mr. Gandhi 
said, giving his own instance, that but for the love he 
bore to his father he might not have come to pledge 
himself to truth. It became an instinct with him to 
speak the truth, not because he realised the signi- 
ficance of truthfulness then, but because he felt that he 
must . do so for the love of his father. But for his 
intensive love for mother similarly, he would not have- 
escaped meat-eating and an unchaste life. Vows ho 
regarded as aids to one’s attempt to secure freedom 
from slavery to one’s own lusts. 

Coming to the programme before the country, Mr. 
Gandhi said there were many ways in which they 
could help the programme viz. the triple programme of 
khaddar, Hindu-Muslim unity and untouchability. 
.Regarding khaddar he would say no more than he bad 
already said. How were they going to help the case 
of Hindu-Muslim unity? ‘Have you met’ he asked^ 
‘Mussalman boys or Parsi boys outside your college ?” 
Have you asked them why they do not come to your 
college ? Have you reasoned with them regarding the 
necessity to use khaddar ? If you have, and have failed, 
I do not mind. But if you. have made no effort in the 
direction, I should have to say that you have done 
17 



258 


YOUNG INDIA 


nothing for the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity ? Speaking 
on the removal of untouchability he referred to 
an incident that happened a few days ago on the new 
Vidyapith grounds. There were some ‘untouchable.’ 
labourers working along with the touchables when the 
building work was going on. The former had to suffer a 
lot of hardships as the latter would not allow them the 
use of the well meant for all of them. “ What was your 
duty then ?'* he a^ked the students. , ' If you had enough 
moral and physical strength in you, you could have 
proceeded to the spot and asked the ‘ touchables ’ to leave 
you and the ‘ untouchables * alone. You could have told 
them you did not want their services on their conditions. 
If you could not do this, you could have done the next 
best thing viz. drawing water for them yourself or doing 
a thing still next best ; viz. providing facilities for them 
to get all the water they needed. Less than this you 
ought not to be satisfied with.” 

He next addressed himself to drawing the students 
attention to the Malabar catastrophe. It was too big 
too terrible to contemplate. He had already appealed 
to the people of Gujarat to help in the relief of the 
thousands that the floods had rendered homeless and 
starving and naked. It may be utterly impossible for 
them to rehabilitate them, but they may help at least in 
providing them food and clothing whilst they were with- 
out them. And there were ways and ways in which 
they could help. ‘Those of you that can afford to give 
money can do so. But all of you can curtail your food 
bills, all of you can abstain from other necessities, whilst 
the distress lasted, each one of you can spin a few hours 
each day, convert the yarn into money and send it to 
Malabar, each one of you can out of college hours work 



SUSPENSION OE EEPEAL 


259 


on the Vidyapith grounds and help in the construction 
of the buildings you will stay in, earn wages like the 
ordinary day-labourer working there, and send them 
on to Malabar. ’ 

After Mr. Gandhi had finished, the students and pro- 
fessors presented him with yarn (which was at least 5 
tolas each) they had spun especially for the occasion. 
This yarn has been purchased by the Ashram and the 
proceeds credited to the Malabar fund. It may be men- 
tioned in passing that the effect of Mr. Gandhi’s appeal 
about Malabar was immediate. All the students next 
Sunday went forward and offered themselves to the 
engineer in charge as day-labourers. There was work 
-enough for them. It was a sight to see them carrying 
baskets of brick and building material, all bathed in 
perspiration, merrily singmg and vying with one an- 
other. They earned, we were informed, Rs. 45 that day 
for Malabar. The experiment has caught, and it is 
expected that it will be repeated every Sunday, and 
students from other institutions may also join. ^ Sweet 
are the uses of adversity ’ which draws out the best in 
us, — M. D. 


The following notes by Mahatma Gandhi appeared 
in Young India of 18th September, 1924: 

SUSPENSION OR REPEAL 

“ Is not your proposed suspension of boycotts only 
repeal in disguise ?’* Not for me. I have no present 
intention of securing repeal of the boycotts. If I had, 
I should not have hesitated to say so. I hope that it 
may not be found necessary to resume them. But I 
should have not the slightest hesitation in advising 



260 


YOUNG INDIA. 


resumption if T found them necessary for national 
growth, just as I find their suspension necessary for 
national growth. ‘'Are you not postponing the in- 
ternecine feud for a year says the friend. My answer 
again is no. We would know at the end of the year 
where we stand. The boycotts certainly cannot be* 
revived, if at the end of the year there is still a likeli- 
hood of sharp divisions. They can only become the 
national programme if the active workers on the 
political field can be persuaded of their necessity. Till 
that happens, they must remain a policy or a creed with 
a minority. We mu.st not shut our eyes to the fact the«;t 
whatever the Government yields will be yielded to the- 
demand of the small, vocal and active section of the 
nation. Nothing will be yielded if this section is divided 
into many warring sub-sections. I should expect one of 
two things at the end of the year, either the no-ohar)ger& 
will be converted to the purely political i. e. external 
activity or the pure politicians will, recognising the 
futility of mere external activity, devote themselves to 
the intensive internal development which would neces- 
sarily involve acceptance of boycotts. It may be also 
that the Internal development as well as political activity 
will command far more general acceptance and, each 
party helping the other, we shall compel the Govern- 
ment to accede to the minimum joint demands of all 
the parties. 

*^King can do no wrongr-^Ui. Kelkar, if he criticise&.a judge, must- 
pay Rs. 5000, the Chronicle must pay Rs. 15000 for criticising a 
Collector. But Lord Lytton, because he is the king's representative 
in Bengal, may libel the woman-hood of India with impunity and 
may probably receive applause from his admirers for his * frank’ talk. 
His Excellency is reported to have said in a serious, speech that ‘mere 
hatred of authority can drive Indian men to induce Indian women ot 



SUSPENSION OR REPEAL 


261 


The central idea underlying my proposal is to unite 
the nation on a common platform and to the hope that 
‘each party, honestly acting upon the other, would be 
voluntarily converted to a common form of action. Even 
if this grand purpose fails, we* may expect at least to 
part company with the best grace possible and without 
imputing motives of one another. Suspension is not an 
unusual state in a movement it often brings greater 
strength to a suspended plan, if it has innate vitality. 
Those, therefore, who believe in the intrinsic merit of 
the boycotts need not fear their permanent disappearance 
because of a brief spell of suspension. They, the believers, 
ought to be the surest guarantee againt any such 
-catastrophe, 

invent offences against their own honour merely to bring discredit 
upon Indian police-men.’ If it was not m a report of his speech but 
if it was merely a reporter’s summary, I would have refused to believe 
■that a responsible Englishman could be capable of such a ‘blazing 
indiscretion.’ Lord Lytton evidently does not know or does not care 
to know how deeply Indian sentiment can be stirred by such charges 
against Indian women. Has Lord Lytton incontestable proof for the 
assertion he has made ? If it is merely the testimony of the police 
he has relied upon, he has relied upon a broken reed. His advisers 
should have warned him against putting faith in any such interested 
testimonoy. But why has he been able to utter such calumny with 
impunity ? If public opinion in Bengal and for that matter in India 
was effective, he would not have dared to utter such a charge even if 
it could be established in an isolated case ? But there is no public 
opinion in the country that can assert itself to-day. Let not even 
the mightiest in the land however consider that they can flout Indian 
sentiment for ever. Hmdu-Muslim feud and the differences between 
pro-changers and no-changers are temporary aberration in the 
national movement. But the insults of Englishmen in high places 
.sink deep in the hearts of all Indians. It is so humiliating to contem- 
plate a closing up of all ranks among us on the strength of indiscreet 
acts of irresponsible representatives of the king. 



YOUNG INDIA 


^63 


‘HEART UNITY’ 

A correspondent writes. 

“In your reply to the Bombay Municipal address 
you have used an expression — heart-unity. I pondered 
and meditated on it and saw that in the core of the 
Universe is the secret of heart-unity. One has to go- 
down far into the fathomless depths, grasp and run away 
with divine touch-stone and touch with it the sundered 
and discoloured parts of human associations to bring 
back odour and happiness. It is in the innner being of 
both Satya avd Rita, of Truth and Law of Nature. It is 
heart-unity that binds planet to planet and holds aloft 
space, and it is heart-unity that keeps elemental matter 
bound each to the other. Chemists had discovered water 
was a compound of hydrogen and oxygen but by bringing 
the two together they could not get water till an electric 
current passed through them. That electric current is 
the heart-unity in nature. It is heart-unity that trans- 
forms things — melts ice into water, and freezes water 
into ice; evolution and involution, the descent of spirit 
into matter and the return of matter to spirit are all the 
work of heart-unity. 

Parvati’s tapafiya for heart-uni tj with Shiva is a 
wonderful piece of Hindu imagery. Parvati is God’s 
Shakti or the active principle in the Universe, incarnate 
in human form. I feel it was a direct vision from God 
to some sadhak ancestor of the race. The force of 
activity in the Almighty was revealed in its most 
beautiful aspect, in the place of matter, as Parvati 
engaged in tapasya — for what? for nothing less, i. e, 
denser than heart-unity with the Heart of Hearts— a 
lesson for humanity to con and master. You have 



SUSPEND OB ABANDON ? 26S 

tnastered it and applied it in the political field by heart- 
unity with the Alls and others, with the result that we 
are well on our way to get the compound of an Indian 
Nation made out of several distinct elements of various 
races and creeds. May the country take the cue from 
you and be firm in her topasya of activity in the 
direction of heart-unity. ” 

I print the letter not for the compliment it pays me 
but for the heart-unity the writer emphasises and truly 
sees in my association with the Ali Brothers and 
others not of the same faith or even of the same mode 
of thought. “What is it” the Big Brother said to me 
last week, “ that binds us so indissolubly together, 
though we are so dissimilar in most things. Is it not 
after all the allegiance to and the fear of the same 
God.?” What he said was so natural and true. Why 
should we blaspheme God by fighting one another 
because we see Him through different media — the 
Koran^ the Bible^ the Talmud; the Avesta or the 
Gita^ The same Sun beats on the Himalayas as on the 
plains. Should the men of plains quarrel with the 
men of the snows because of the different feel of the 
Sun? Why should we make of books and formulas so 
many fetters to enslave us rather than use them aa 
aids to our deliverance and union of hearts ? 


4th December^ 1924 
SUSPEND OR ABANDON ? 

By M. K. Gajjidhi 

The answer to the question whether non-co-opera- 
tion should be suspended or abandoned depends purely 
upon the temperamental state of the answerer. He who 



-264 


YOUNG INDIA 


has never believed in non-co-operation naturally wants 
it abandoned forever. He who like me has always 
believed in and practised it, whenever and wherever 
necessary, and who therefore swears by it can with diflS- 
culty only be persuaded to vote for suspension in the hope 
no doubt that some time or other he will be able to carry 
the sceptic and the unbeliever with him and make its 
national working a success. Suspension therefore is 
the neutral state that can be accepted by all parties. 
Those who believe in the efficacy and necessity of non- 
violent non-co-operation may be permitted to cherish 
the hope that if the occasion necessitated revival the 
nation would take it up. Those who disbelieve in it 
will be free under suspension to preach the evil effects 
in their opinion of non-co-operation to convert Oongress- 
men to their views. That is the grand opportunity that 
suspension gives them. And in my opinion a wholly 
non^co-operating Congress cannot be expected to go 
further than suspension. I say ‘ wholly non-co-operating 
Congress ’ because Swarajists too claim to have faith in 
non-co-operation. Let me give up a secret, if secret it 
can be called. The very first draft prepared now more 
than three months ago began with a preamble reiterat- 
ing belief in non-co-operation. It was quite acceptable 
to Swarajists. But it was removed by mutual consent 
in order to make it easier for Liberals and others to 
join. It was pointed out by some friends that Liberals 
and National Home Rulers might object to voting for 
the preamble. In fact consistently with principles ex- 
traordinary care was taken by all who had a hand in 
drafting the final agreement to anticipate and meet the 
requirements of those who have remained outside the 
Congress; Ik-^nowthat even so, -the agreement falls 



WHAT IS SEDITIOUS ? 


265 


•short of the full requirements of the various political 
groups and parties. The reason for the defect is not 
due to want of effort or will, but it is due to both the 
Swarajists and myself having to take into account our 
respective principles, or call them limitations if that 
word is preferable. 

Moreover I cannot too often repeat the fact that we 
had the great Congress electorate in mind. It is true 
that it is as yet not always assertive when it ought to 
be but I have noticed that on occasions it caii assert its 
will despite the effort of the leaders to the contrary. It 
is the same electorate that all of us have to affect and 
he affected by. In finding the ways and means of. agree- 
ment I venture to think that each party if it is to work 
in unison has to be satisfied with just sufficient and no 
more for the requirements of its conscience. 

After all no one wants non-co-operation for the sake 
of it. No one prefers imprisonment to freedom. But 
when freedom is in jeopardy, non-co-operation may be 
a palace. It is for all those who would under every 
•circumstance avoid non-co-operation to make it un- 
necessary for non-co-operators to resort to it. And one 
of the best methods of bringing about such a result is 
for all parties to unite, devise a scheme of Swaraj 
acceptable to all parties and discover at the same time 
if it is possible a common method of enforcing that 
scheme. 


WHAT IS SEDITIOUS ? 

The Allahabad High Court pronounced Professor 
iRamdas Gaud’s Hindi Readers as seditious, although 
it was admitted that the readers contained nothing but 



266 


YOUNa INDIA. 


selections from books already in circulation. The High 
Court has also awarded costs against the professor in. 
the sum of Rs. 300. The Readers have been proscribed 
three years after their publication. I admit that evili 
does not cease to be such because of lapse of time. But 
it is fair to ask why the Government allowed the evil to- 
run for such a long time. It is a just presumption that 
the Government chose a time when non-co-operation 
was at its ebb. The relevant question however is, what 
Professor Ramdas Gaud or better still those parents 
and those institutions that are using the Readers should* 
do ? It is not an easy question to answer. We are about 
to suspend non-co-operation and therefore also civil dis- 
obedience. Such acts therefore cannot receive the moral 
support of the Congress. Every individual and every 
institution must act on its own responsibility. The ex- 
tracts quoted in the judgement divide themselves into- 
three parts : 

(1) Those that are said to excite hatred against the* 
Government, 

(2) Those that are said to excite hatred against 
western civilization and by implication against 
Europeans, 

(3) Those that excite hatred against persons belong- 
ing to different religious communities. 

In the first instance I venture to suggest that almost 
any book can be held objectionable, if isolated passages 
from it torn from their context are to be judged. So far 
as I know the judges had nothing more. Secondly al- 
most every Indian newspaper can be declared seditious,, 
because it does excite disaffection towards the Govern- 
ment (i. e. the system, not the men composing it) esta- 
blished by law.’ For almost every Indian has pronoun- 



WHA.T IS SEDITIOUS ? 267 

ced against it and is seeking to end or mend it. So far 
as the western civilisation is concerned, it is possible to 
iBind terrible passages frofu Hindu scriptures holding up 
the modern system to ridicule and contempt. Afy book- 
let, from which passages referring to western civilization 
have been quoted, has been placed in the hands of 
children with impunity, I may have erred in my con* 
demnation. But it was written not to preach hatred 
against any portion of mankind but love for all that 
lives. I know of no instance in which a single mind 
has been corrupted by the reading of that booklet. It 
has been translated both in India and abroad into 
several languages. It was once proscribed by the 
Government of Bombay, But the proscription has been 
removed in practice if not in theory. It is strange then 
that Prof. Ramdas Gaud should be punished, when I am* 
left untouched. In support of the third charge, namely 
promotion of inter-religious hatred. 1 see only one pass- 
age quoted. I do not know in what context it occurs. 
But it is clear to me that the books have not been pro- 
scribed for the sake of that one passage. I know that 
the professor has a clear conscience. He has not in- 
tended to excite hatred against any individual. I know 
too that he has made no profits out of the sales. If I 
were he, I would leave the circulation undisturbed. The 
books in stock must have been confiscated by the 
Government already. But where the Readers are 
already being taught I would continue to teach them 
unless the parents or the trustees decide otherwise 



*268 


YOUNG INDIA 


Uth Mnich^ 19^0 
NATIONAL EDUCATION 
BY M. K. Gandhi 

An Assistant Principal in a National institution 
writes : 

In order to save the young generation from the slave mentah- 
created in the Government schools, the National Education move- 
ment was started on a large scale m the first decade of this century. 
It only aimed at establishing schools where education was imparted 
“ on national lines and under national control. ’ As the leaders of 
everj^ movement expect a substantial support from the rising genera- 
tion, it is but natural that they should lay their first claim upon the 
youths of the country. From this point of view, it maybe said that the 
movement in 1906 was in a way successful. It undoubtedly produced 
a band of workers many of whom have taken a vigorous part in the 
struggle for freedom. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that as a 
purely educational movement, it had neither a separate source nor a 
separate existence. The weakest link lay in the fact that it had its 
source in the main political current of the day. When the latter 
reached its lowest ebb, the former was bound to get dry, 

“ The N. C. 0. movement gave a second impetus — indeed a 
tremendous one — to the cause of National Education. Hundreds of 
mushroom schools sprang into existence all over the country. Their 
■object was also limited in scope. They mainly aimed at accommodat- 
ing the N. C. O. students for one year only. The boys were to be 
made ‘ Swaraj Soldiers ’ i. e. workers to carry out the different items 
of N. C. 0. Here again the educational movement had no existence 
separate from the political one. When the latter* lost its force, the 
former became feeble and infirm. 

“ The result is that National Education has alwhys been given a 
secondary or subordinate place in the programme and no scientific 
and independent thought has ever been accorded to it by any leader. 
It seems that with you it is not as dear as Khaddar, or, it may be 
that with you Khaddar and National Education mean one and the 
same thing ! The Swarajists are enamoured only of the Councils. 
Taking these facts into consideration is it possible for the movement 
to make any progress? And if it meets with failure now and again, 



NATI02TAL EDUCATION 


269 


will it not produce a lamentable and discouraging effect upon the 
majority of the people? 

“According to the tactics of the G-overnment and expediency, 
politics assumes — and it must do so — a different phase in particular 
circumstances and at the hands of the leaders ‘in power,’ The Indian 
National Congress may always be under the thumb of one party or 
the other, each with a different programme, one emphasizing the 
production of Khaddar and the removal of untouchability, the second,, 
the village organization and the establishment of the Panchayats,. 
the third, universal literacy, while the fourth will instantly jump to 
civil disobedience. You will of course say that all these things ought 
to be done by national students, because they must readily respond, 
to the call of the nation. Do you think that the capacity of the 
students will be increased in respect of learning, character and 
efficiency if they do one thing to-day and another thing tomorrow ? 

“ The aim of education is to develop the physical and mental 
organs of children so as to make them worthy citizens of their 
country. This can only be done when boys are in the secondary 
schools. Before that they are too young and after that their charac- 
ter will have taken already a particular bent difficult to be turned to 
any other desirable direction. Now accord mg to your opinion, the 
age in secondary schools is to be devoted mainly to hand-spinning, 
hand-weaving and everything connected with it. Is not that educa- 
tion unnatural and oppressive where students of varied capabilities 
and different aptitudes are cramped together in one and the same 
mould ? Do you think that the boys who have received such kind of 
education will have received all the necessary fruits of education ? 
Will they be well-equipped to bring out a national regeneration nx 
all possible spheres? The experience is that the social status of 
almost all the students and teachers who have passed their days in 
the above-mentioned way are considered inferior even to those who^ 
have obtained the so-called ‘ liberal education ’ in Government- 
institutions. If the teacher himself is in difficulty of getting an 
honourable livelihood, his social status remains low and consequently 
he can make little impression upon the pupils and the public. In your 
schools only the weavers’ children can be profitably trained. For 
others a much more liberal and extensive course is necessary. Hand- 
spinning and hand-weaving may become one item of the curriculum,, 
but it cannot and must not become the whole. Is it not better to lay 



270 


YOUNG INDIA 


down some broad fundamental and definite principles of national 
education and give every institution discretion to act according to 
its requirements, capabilities and the calibre of the students ? 

“ You often say that an actual non-violent war is being waged 
against the British Government and that you want worthy and well- 
equipped soldiers to fight it out. Do you suppose that you can get a 
continuous supply of such soliders from schools where nothing but 
spinning and weaving is taught ? Are not these raw, partially educat- 
ed and therefore ill-equipped young men likely to lose the battle ? 

“ During the last forty years or more, a number of experiments 
were tried in the field of national education. Can you point out at 
least one institution, the model of which we can proudly ask the 
Government to imitate ? 

The whole world is advancing in material civilization, without 
which we shall certainly be handicapped. It is now a settled fact 
that India fell a prey to western nations because she was wanting in 
scientific and material progress. History has taught this lesson and 
and it cannot be overlooked. But you never seem to give much impor- 
tance to subjects like Physics and Chemistry. Is this not strange 

I do not know the conditions of 1906 but I do know 
those of 1921. National education to be truly national 
must reflect the national condition for the time being. 
And as the national condition at present is one of un- 
•certainty, national education too must remain in a more 
•or less uncertain condition. How do children fare in a 
ibesieged place ? Do they not according to their capacity 
take part in repelling the attack of the besiegers and 
suit themselves to the changing circumstances ? Is that 
not, their true education ? Is not education the art of 
‘drawing out full manhood of the children under 
training? The greatest drawback of the present system 
of education is that it does not bear the stamp of reality, 
that the children do not react to the varying wants of 
the country. True education must corre.^Jpond to the 
•surrounding circumstances or it is not a healthy growth. 
The necessity of this response was the object of Non-co- 



NATIONAL EDUCATION 


271 


•operation in education. True, we have not acted up to 
the ideal. That is because of our limitations, because 
we were unable to shake off the hypnotic effect of our 
■surroundings. 

But this is not to say that our educational institu- 
tions 'must become mere spinning and weaving 
institutes. I do -regal'd spinning and weaving as the 
necessary part of any national system of education. I 
do not aim at taking the whole of the childrens’ time 
for this purpose. Like a skilled physician I tend and 
concentrate my attention on the diseased limb knowing 
that that is the best way of looking after the others. I 
would develop in the child his hands, his brain and his 
■soul. The hands have almost atrophied. The soul has 
been altogether ignored. I therefore put in a plea in 
season and out of* season for correcting these grave 
defects in our education. Is half an hour’s spinning 
every day by our children too great a strain upon them? 
Will it result in mental paralysis? 

I value education in the different sciences. Our 
children cannot have too much of chemistry and 
physics. And if these have not been attended to in the 
institutions in which I am directly supposed to be 
interested it is because we have not the professors for 
the purpose and also because practical training in these 
sciences requires very expensive laboratories for which 
in the present state of uncertainty and infancy we are 
not ready. 



272 


YOUNQ INDIA. 


^rtd April, 19'io 
THE NATIONAL WEEK 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The 6bh and 13th of April must for ever remain 
green in Indian memory. 6th April 19*19 witnessed an 
unexpected and huge mass awakening of the Nation. On 
13bh of April the nation was made to offer a sacrifice 
in which Hindu, Mussalman and Sikh blood mingled at 
Jallian walla Bagh. They became one in death. 

Since then much water has flown under the 
Sabarmati bridge. The nation has passed through many 
vicissitudes. Today Hindu-Musliin unity seems to- 
have been but a dream. I observe that both are 
preparing for a fight. Each claims that it is preparing 
in self-defence. Each is in a measure right. And if 
they must fight, let them fight bravely, disdaining the 
protection of the police or the law courts. If they will 
do that the lesson of 13th April will not have been lost 
upon them. If we will cease to be slaves we must cease 
to rely for protection upon the British bayonet or the 
slippery justice of law courts. Not to rely upon either 
at the crucial moment is the best training for Swaraj. 
The supersession of Sir Abdur Rahim, the passage of 
the Supplementary Ordinance, the restoration of the salt 
tax tell us in plainest language that the British rulers 
propose to rule in spite of our opposition. In fact they 
tell us by their action as clearly as possible that they 
can and will rule without our assistance. Shall we not 
have the negative courage of doing without their 
assistance ? We have seen that we can, when we do not 
quarrel. It is possible, if wqjhave some courage, to do 



NATIONAL EDUCATION 


27S 


without that assistance even if we quarrel. It is any 
day better to stand erect with a broken and bandaged 
head than to crawl on one’s belly, in order to be able to 
save one's head. I can see Hindu-Muslim unity issuing 
out of our street fights without Government interven-' 
tion. I should despair of real unity if we would fight 
under the shadow of the British Uniform and perjured 
evidence before British Courts. We must be men 
before we would rule ourselves. 

But the Satyagraha week is pre-eminently one of 
self-purification and self-introspection. It is my fixed 
conviction, daily growing on me, that we shall not* make 
this unhappy land happy except by purity of conduct 
which spelt otherwise means truth and non-violence. 
Such purity can come only by prayer and fasting. 
Hartal in the present state of things is out of question. 
I therefore suggest to those who believe in prayer and 
fasting to devote 6th and 13th to that sacred purpose. 
Khaddar and the wheel are the only universal 
programme in which young and old, rich and poor, men 
and women can usefully take part. Those who can spin 
should s|>in as much as they can and induce their 
friends to do likewise. Those who can will hawk 
Khaddar in their places and thus the week can be used 
as a week of dedication to this most important national 
work. 

Hindus have also the impurity of untouchability to 
remove. They can fraternise with the untouchables. 
They can set apart’iwhat they can spare for the relief of 
distress among them and in a variety of ways make 
them , feel that they are no longer the despised' class 
among Hindus. 

HindU'Muslim unity, Khaddar and removal of 
18 



274 


YOUNG INDIA. 


^intoucb ability are to me the foundation for Swaraj. On 
that firm foundation it is possible to erect a structure 
nobler than which the world has not seen. Anything 
without that foundation will be like a building built on 
sand. 


2STd April, 1925 
NO SIGN YET 
BY M. K. Gandhi 

One of the numerous addresses presented to me in 
the South contains the following remarkable sentence: 

“ Though you have cried halt at Bardoli, we still cherish the 
hope that you will, in the near future, lead us to the battlefield, 
wherein we shall all subdue our differences in our fight for Swaraj, 
with the pure and unsullied weapon of non-violent mass Civil dis- 
obedience, without which, it is well-nigh impossible to attain Swaraj 
from the hands of an unwilling and greedy nation, whose imperialism 
is nothing but ruthless exploitation, ** 

There is here a slight disappointment over the 
Bardoli decision, I know that many thought at the 
time, and still think, that the Bardoli decision was a 
political blunder of the first magnitude and showed my 
utter unfitness for political leadership. In my opinion, 
however, the Bardoli decision was a great service 
I rendered to the country. It showed on my part, not 
lack of political judgment, but abundance of political 
foresight The lessons that we have learnt since were 
well-worth learning. If we had then earned a cheap 
victory, it would have cost us dear, and British 
Imperialism would have consolidated itself with fresh 
vigour. Not that it is not consolidated enough now. 



NO SIGN YET 


275 


But the consolidation then would have been far more 
effective. 

Critics may say this is all argument based on 
probability. And so it is. But for me the probability 
borders on certainty. Any way, the Bardoli decision 
enables me to hope for a day, not far distant, when a 
fight will become a great probability. Any fight now to 
be undertaken must be a fight to the finish. But I must 
freely confess that there is nothing today on the Indian 
horizon to warrant the hope of early mass Civil 
disobedience. For one thing, there are not enough 
workers for organising such a struggle. It requires 
closer touch with the masses than we have yet shown 
•ourselves capable of. It needs greater, warmer and 
continuous service of and identification with the masses 
than we have yet felt desirous of. We must feel and be 
one with the masses before we can expect successfully 
to lead them to a peaceful victory. Indeed when we 
liave arrived at that stage, mass Civil disobedience will 
hardly be necessary. But we must have that confidence 
in ourselves. Today I, at any rate, have none. Any 
attempt at the present moment at mass Civil dis- 
obedience must result in undisciplined sporadic violence 
which will be put down the instant it breaks forth. But 
Civil disobedience does not admit of any violence or 
countenancing of violence directly or indirectly. The 
spinning wheel is undoubtedly designed to bring about 
that peaceful and calm atmosphere of solemn determi- 
nation. It is the symbol of social service of the highest 
order. It is the cement to bind the masses to us 
national servants. It is a precursor of conscious 
co-operation on a scale hitherto unknown to the worlds 
If the wheel fails, it means blank despair and 



276 


YOUNG INDIA 


starvation for the masses. Nothing can so quickly put 
the masses on their legs as the spinning wheel and ali 
it means. It is resistless in its march. It is innocence 
personified. It adds dignity to the poverty of the 
masses because it relieves it of its worst features. The 
wheel is making progress but not rapid enough for our 
purpose — not even for bringing about exclusion of 
foreign cloth from the country. 

But there is no cause for despair. The wheel will 
weather many a storm and will come through them all 
scatheless. And as I have no other means but truth 
and non-violence for fighting India’s battle for freedom^ 
I must swear by it. Though, therefore, mass Civil 
disobedience is practically an impossibility, individual 
Civil disobedience is a possibility at any time. But even 
that time is not yet. There are too many dark and 
threatening clouds on the horizon that threaten to 
overwhelm us from within. The faith of the out and 
out believers in Charkha, removal of untouchability and 
Hindu-Muslim Unity has still to be tested to warrant a 
positive knowledge of who is who. 


mh May, m5 

SENTIMENTAL NONSENSE 
BY M. K. Gandhi 

There is sentiment that is sensible and useful, such 
for instance, as love for one’s country and consequent 
toil. There is sentiment which^ is nonsensical and 
useless. Of this latter kind is the following .* 

“ I find myself between tbe horns of a' dilemma. If I seek to re^ 
move the distress of my helpless mother and brothers I shall have to. 



SENTIMENTAL NONSENSE 


377 


resort to co-operation of some form or other with the Government 
(which I can never think of even in dream). On the other hand, if I 
strictly adhere to the doctrine of non-violent non-co-operation and 
devote myself to the service of the country, I shall have to see with 
my own eyes my relatives dying of starvation. After much delibera- 
tion I have come to the conclusion that I will not sacrifice non-co- 
operation nor will I leave my helpless family to its fate. The only 
course open to me is to take the vow of fasting to death in the 
moment of crisis for the salvation of mother-land and for the well- 
being of my family. Does religion sanction this kind of death ? Do 
you approve of such a sort of death ? I, however, prefer such death 
to the sacrifice of my truth. For, I know the support of my family 
is my sacred duty and at that same time the observance of the vow 
of non-co-operation for the sake of motherland is also a religious duty. 
I can avoid neither with impunity. I feel in my heart of hearts that 
better days will dawn upon us, but I do not know when. On the 
contrary, I shall never co-operate with this Government if Swaraj 
is never won in my life. 

It is a matter of great regret that the national schools that 
sprang up in 1921, have, with few exceptions, died out from the soil 
of Bengal. Khaddar has not yet found favour with our people. A 
national graduate like myself is treated with contempt and scorn. 
I do not mind ill-treatment. I have made myself proof against it. 
But the extreme misery of my family cuts me to the quick. Will 
you kindly give me light ? 

I sympathise with the young graduate, but I cannot 
help saying the suicide he suggests is a crime. All 
fasting is not meritorious. The candidate for self- 
immolation can, not only not advance Swaraj by his 
suicide, but of self-murder. It bespeaks want of faith 
in oneself. I honour the determination not to seek 
employment under the government. But surely, suicide 
is not the only alternative. If the national school in 
question does not support him, he has dozens of 
opportunites for earning an honest livelihood and 
supporting his, parents. Has he the will to labour with 
his hands ? I do not know a single honest and willing 



278 


YOUNG INDIA 


worker who is unable to get suitable work in a national 
or public organisation or in a private firm. I know that 
national work awaits the willing though paid service of 
honest and industrious young men and women for its 
full development. The young man can become a weaver 
or a carpenter and earn fair wages. He can apply to^ 
say, the Ehadi Pratislithan and if he has the requisite 
qualifications, he would get employment there, A young 
man should never give way to despondency. He should 
have self-confidence enough to know that real merit 
never goes unrewarded. 


25th Ju7ie, 1925 
TO GANDHIJI 
BY SIKDAR JOGENDRA SINGH 

I feel diffident in writing to yon about matters which have been 
engaging your mind and heart night and day all these years. Indeed,. 
I confess I have hardly any claim to hazard an opinion except that 
I have been in close touch with life, and few people in the political 
world know the villages, as I do, which make real India. A voice 
from the villages may be of some use to you in reaching realities. 

I had the pleasure of meeting you, in Lahore, many years ago, 
with Mr. Padshah, We discussed the economics of “Charkha ’* and 
power-driven machines. I disagreed with your view. I still feel that 
human nature in itself is not capable of working above and beyond 
xhe surrounding environment and the environment now embraces the 
whole world; none the less I admit that if human nature could find 
illumination for a while, simple living and high thinking point the 
surest road to happiness. I also see that if men learn to co-operate 
against things which they dislike and accept self-suffering, they can 
enforce their will wielding compelling powers without incurring the 
risk of devastations which follow wars and revolutions. 

God entrusted you with a message, a message of freedom based 
on good-will, ensuring peace ; saving civilisation from committing 



TO GANDHIJI 


279 


“Han Kari” by exploiting forces of nature without cultivating 
necessary discipline and moral restraint which from time immemorial 
has been held essential in the East. Give your message and time 
will carry it to the hearts of men. The love of your motherland calls 
you to apply your principles to the pressing problems of the day; you 
have been even persuaded *to permit others to test a policy of pacts 
and compromises which appeal to the politicians more than the un- 
compromising pursuit of truth. They have been at it for a long 
while seeking to weld the people together by an agreed distribution 
of loaves and fishes and hoping to secure Swaraj by constant obstruc- 
tion in the Legislatures. Failure has been pursuing these ejfforts 
from the start. I wonder if the leaders are disenchanted. In any 
case pursue your own path, it is your Dhamia. You and they cannot 
walk the same road for long. The great work before you is to confine 
yourself to the essentials ; prove that non-co-operation is co-opera- 
tion in essence and stronger than the might of armies, that non-co- 
operation is co-operation of righteous men to overcome the un- 
righteous in a spirit of tolerance and goodwill, accepting self-suffer- 
ing to awaken an understanding in the opponents. India needs it, 
bat more than India Europe needs it, and indeed the whole world 
needs it. This alone can give the League of Nations strength to 
enforce its will. This alone can confer power on unarmed nations 
to assert their manhood and to keep their places in the sun. This 
alone can dispel darkness which drives nations into wards, in search 
of supremacy at the sacrifice of protection and peace. The new world 
waits for this new message; proclaim it with all the power that God 
has given you. 

The problem of food is as important as the problem of peace. 
When you placed Charkha on the banner of your flag you raised the 
symbol of economic independence of nations, great and small. Happi- 
ness is not to be found in wild pursuit of pleasure and possessions and 
unlimited production. These feed the flames of desire. Let each 
householder produce what he needs and then what he cannot pro- 
duce let him procure from his neighbour in and outside the bounds of 
his own land. Let trade be an exchange of things, not wild exploita- 
tions by one nation of the other ; an organised competition which 
must fail unless saved by a large-hearted readjustment of economic 
relations of the world. Let Charkha be as a symbol for practical 
purposes ;we must modernise the village bringing electric power to its 



280 


YOUNG INDIA 


.service, to weave cloth, to pump water, to press oil and to do a 
thousand other services which some of our congested villages need, to 
secure enough food and clothing. You cannot be altogether unaware 
that no country can entirely escape the influence of the new age ; an 
age of magic and machinery, ruled by new inventions and human 
nature. You can place new inventions in the hands of the village 
worker in his own home, you can transfuse a divine sense of service 
to elevate human nature. You can inculcate ethics of work, love 
and labour by reviving the system of “ Kathas ”, to keep alive ideals 
•and traditions which have saved India through centuries of unfavour- 
ing circumstances. 

The greatest problem you have set your hand to is to bring 
harmony between Hindus and Mussalmans. I am sure you will not 
exclude Englishmen from this great concord of hearts and minds. I 
fear, you have been exploring the possibilities of pacts and political 
arrangement against your better reason and agreed to let your friends 
try the methods with which they are familiar. They have failed and 
you can now turn round and tell them to let you go your own way. 
You may not be followed today but truth shall conquer. Light up 
the flame of understanding by your example transfiguring unity by 
living it. No one can do more, Hindus and Mussafmans who have 
their ey e on the main chance repeat the creed without conviction. 
They will never f nd unity. They want places of power. Leave 
them in the old familiar caves, dark with the darkness of ages. Turn 
to the villages, unity exists there already. Factors which work 
discords can be examined and removed-fetishes which have usurped 
the sanction of religion. Remove untouchability between Hindus 
and Mussalmans in the matter of food, give freedom to the Mussal- 
mans to sacrifice cows if they so desire, open the Hindu temples to 
the Mussalmans to desecrate if they dare. When doors are flung 
open to them as friends allow them to carry their processions wher- 
ever they like and to cut the jfeejntl trees. Let the Hindus not only 
tolerate but join these processions and let the Mussalmans also do 
the same allow the Hindus to blow their conches and unfurl their 
flag remembering in the words of Iqbal : “ They are both companions 
on the long road and the night has over-taken them both. ” 

Do this and rest will follow. This work has to be done in the 
villages, im.the temples and the mosques and in the towns, wherever 
men of greater goodwill can be found. Let the order go forth that 



TO GANDHIJI 


281 


Ye shall open their temples and the Mussalmans their mosques and 
partake freely in each others festivals. ” 

The political problem is certainly important but more important 
is the serving of the needs of the people. There is a ploughing 
season and a sowing season and a harvesting season. A bad agri- 
culturist ploughs his land badly, sows his seed and weeps when he 
turns to gather a harv.est. A good agriculturist ploughs patiently 
and ploughs again and again and secures a rich harvest. We are 
still in the ploughing season. We need better education, more food, 
better houses and a larger coming together of races and creeds. The 
true worker never hurries. Modem methods made fully subservient 
to man and kept under control can add greatly to the production of 
the soil and the making of a better man morally and physically. Do 
something towards this. Make electric power the servant of man in 
the hearth and home and the fields outside, helping every man to 
attain his manhood. Preach your doctrine of love and self-deter- 
mination and freedom. Man is the master of his own destiny and 
in his realisation all immediate problems will find an easy solution. 
I have made suggestions not that I know more but only because it 
may help you to know what people need. Politics often have a trick 
‘Of wrapping truth in a veil of mystery and giving to what is temporary 
.and unimportant preference over the permanent and deeply 
important. 

I have much pleasure in printing the foregoing as 
received. Sirdar Jogendra Singh has' written from the 
•depth of his heart. I value his advice. I have a vivid 
recollection of the conversation referred to by the 
sSirdarji. He questions the advisability of my having 
•entered into the agreement with the Swarajists. Nine 
months have nearly gone by since it was entered into. 
But I have seen no reason to repent of the agreement. 
J have sacrificed no principle. The Congress is no 
preserve of any single individual. It is a democratic 
body with, in my opinion, the widest intelligent franchise 
the world has ever seen. For it gives statutory recogni- 
tion to the dignity of labour. I wish it was the sole test. 
It accommodates ail shades of opinion save violence and 



282 


YOUNG INDIA 


untruth. The swarajists had a perfect right of enforcing: 
their will by a battle of votes. I was unprepared for it ; 
for I have known the voting power to demoralise the- 
people, especially when the electorate has not been 
accustomed to use independent judgment. I was bound 
as a sane man to recognise the growing power of the- 
Swarajists. They were willing to give the predominent 
place to the constructive programme. More could not 
be expected from them. If I had forced them to the vote- 
they might not only have made Council-entry the 
national programme but they might, in the heat of battle,, 
have even thrown overboard the constructive programme- 
or relegated it to an insignificant place. So much for 
the principle. 

In practice the agreement has largely laid to rest 
the acerbity between pro-changers and no-changers. It> 
has enabled both to work the joint programme in tolera- 
able harmony. I witnessed the benefits of the pact in 
the South. I witness them in Bengal. I do not share 
the opinion that Swarajists have failed. I do not attach 
much importance to promises made at the hustings. It 
is the tacitly recognised law that like promises made at 
marriage, those made at election times must not be 
taken too seriously. Once grant the promise that 
Council-entry is not wholly bad, the Swarajists have 
nothing to be ashamed of about their achievements.. 
They have spoken fearlessly in the Council halls ; they 
have outvoted the Government; they have shown that 
the Government does not enjoy the confidence even of 
the electorate of its own creating ; they have shown a 
discipline and solidarity hitherto unknown among 
Councillors and above all (for me at least) they have* 
introduced Khaddar in these forbidden places and have^ 



TO GANDHIJI 


283 ’> 


not been afraid to appear in their daily national costume 
which at one time, as if we were ashamed or afraid of it,, 
we wore only in our homes. Have not the proceedings 
of the Swarajists set the Government athinking"? It is 
true that it has gone its way in the lace of hostile votes. 
The Swarajists could not help it. If they had the 
power behind, they would have dislodged the Govern- 
ment and dared it to defy their vote. That power has 
still to come. It is coming slowly but surely. The 
Government knows that it dare not act against public 
opinion for all time. The Swarajists have made it feel 
more than before the weakness of its position. I have 
political differences with them but their bravery, dis- 
cipline, patriotism, command my admiration. And I 
should do all in my power consistently with my 
principles to help and strengthen them. I remain as the 
head of the Congress only so long as it pleases them to* 
keep me there. Where I cannot help, I must resolutely 
refuse to hinder. 

For me personally, non-violent non-co-operation is 
a creed. I heartily endorse the Sirdarji’s statement 
that non-co-operation is co-operation in essence and 
stronger than the might of armies. And if I could but 
convert the major part of educated India to my view,. 
Swaraj can be had without further effort. The convic- 
tion is daily growing stronger that their is no peace for 
India and indeed for the world, save through non- 
violence. For me, therefore, the spinning wheel is not 
merely a symbol of simplicity and economic freedom 
but it is also a symbol of peace. For if we, Hindus,. 
Mussalmans, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jews unite in 
achieving the universalisation of the wheel in India, 
we shall not only have arrived at real unity and ex- 



284 


YOUNG INDIA 


elusion of foreign cloth but we shall also have acquired 
self-confidence and organising abilit5T^ which render 
violence wholly unnecessary for regaining our freedom. 
Success of the Charkha to me therefore means victory of 
non-violence such as to serve as an object lesson for the 
whole world. 

The Sirdarji advises the introduction of electric 
power in the villages side side with the Charkha. I 
fear he knows only a few villages of the Punjab. If he 
knew the life of all India as L claim to do, be would not 
write of electricity with the assurance he does. In the 
present state of India, anything like a universal intorduc- 
tion of e'lectriepowerin our villages is an utterly impracti- 
cable proposition. That time may come. But it will not 
before the Charkha occupies an abiding place in every 
home. I am anxious therefore to avoid fogging the 
public mind by raising side or false issues and false 
hopes. Even if Charkha means no more than what the 
Sirdarji says or implies we must concentrate upon it 
^nd it alone, till we have mstde it a success. And when 
through it we have made the lives of the villagers 
livable and have provided them with honourable and 
profitable work during the slack season all the things 
iihat should be added to make them^ happier will follow 
us a matter of course. Let me assure the Sirdarji that 
I am not against machinery as such. The Charkha 
itself for that matter is machinery. But I am a deter- 
mined foe of all machinery that is designed for 
‘exploitation of people. 

The Sirdarji need not entertain any fear of English- 
men being excluded from the circle of unity. For it 
includes everyone who chooses to call himself an Indian 
•whether by birth or adoption. It includes all denomi- 



IS IT INCONSISTENCY? 


285- 


nations and all races. Nor is the combination intended 
to be hostile to any nation or individuals, not even a 
Dyer. For it seeks to convert not to destroy. 


6th August^ 1925 
IS IT INCONSISTENCY ? 

BY M. K. Gandhi 

The following letter addressed by Mr. Gandhi to the* 
Statesman and published in its issue of the 1st instant, 
being of general interest, is reproduced below; 

You will perhaps extend me the courtesy of finding* 
room for a reply to your article headed “Civil Resistance”’ 
in to-day’s Statesman, You see an inconsistency between 
my desire to prepare an atmosphere for civil resistance 
and my statement to the European Association that I 
was dying for co-operation. My speech before the Euro- 
pean Association was delivered on July 24. 1 write for 
Young India on Saturdays for the issue of Thursday 
following. The reference to. civil resistance which you 
have quoted appears in Young India of July 23. There- 
fore, that article was written on Saturday previous i.e., 
July 18. I give you the daces in order to show that 
the idea of preparation for civil resistance was not 
conceived after the statement to the European Asso- 
ciation. 

I see no inconsistency between the desire for civil 
resistance and for co-operation. You will remember that 
my statement to the European Association was a recall- 
ing of an old story. When in the heyday of Non-co- 
operation, an Englishman twitted me with the remark 
that although I professed Non-co-operation I was dying 
to cooperate, I said to him emphatically that I was doing 



386 


YOUNG INDIA 


.‘SO, And I say that that is my position also today. Civil 
resistance to wrong is not anew doctrine or practice 
with me. It is a life-long belief and a life-long practice. 
To prepare the country for civil resistance is to prepare 
it for non-violence. To prepare the country for non- 
violence is to organize it for constructive work, which 
to me is synonymous with the spinning wheel. You 
•evidently seem to think that I have repented of my 
Non-co-operation or civil resistance. I have never, done 
so. I remain a confirmed Non-co-operator. If I could 
carry educated India with me I would declare Non-co- 
operation in its entirety today. Being a practical man 
I recognize the facts that stare me in the face; I have 
failed to convince some of my most esteemed colleagues 
that the particular form of Non-co-operation which we 
•embarked upon in 1920 can do good to the country at the 
present moment. It, therefore, remains under suspension. 
But I cannot hide from you the fact that if I could re- 
•convert my colleagues, I would certainly ask the 
•Congress to renew the battle. 

Personally I have no desire to co-operate voluntarily 
with the Government in my weakness ; that would be 
i;he co-operation of a slave. I admit my weakness ; and, 
therefore, I remain satisfied with the mere desire for 
•cooperation and I seek to fulfil that desire by developing 
strength. If I believed in violence I would make no 
fsecret of it and would take the consequence. But I 
would let the country know publicly, and know in 
unequivocal terras that there is no freedom for her and 
no room for honourable co-operation with the Govern- 
ment, unless she is prepared to match the British bayonet 
with the Indian. As it is, I do not believe in the creed 
•of the bayonet. I further believe that, fortunately or 



IS IT INCONSISTENCY ? 


287 


tanfortunately, it will never succeed in India. A substi- 
tute for it is, however, necessary, and that is civil 
resistance. 

In your opinion it is as dangerous as violence, and 
if such is also the opinion of the Grovernment it has to 
suppress me, for after my discharge from prison I have 
not allowed a moment to pass when I have not en- 
deavoured to fit myself or the country for civil resistance. 
Let me inform you in all humility that if I could but 
secure the absolute co-operation of my revolutionary 
friends by the entire cessation of their activity, and if 
I could produce an atmosphere of general non-violence, 
I would declare mass civil resistance to-day and thus 
prepare the ground for honourable co-operation. I admit 
that I failed to do so in 1921, and when I found that 
Chauri Chaura betrayed me, I had no hesitation within 
twenty-four hours of the declartion of civil resistance to 
suspend it, and to take the consequences of a general 
depression in the country that followed. 

And if I insist od nauseam on Hindu-Muslim unity, 
and the spinning wheel and Khaddar, it is in order to 
ensure a state of non-violence necessary for civil resis- 
tance. I have, I confess, despaired of achieving Hindu- 
Muslim Unity in the very near future untouchability 
is surely but slowly going, the spinning wheel is surely 
but slowly making its way. Meanwhile, the ruthless 
exploitation of the country is proceeding apace. I am, 
therefore, thinking out plans of some form of effective 
individual civil resistance, which, if it brings no relief to 
this poor counti-y, will at least bring some solace, to 
those whose creed is non-violence, to know thatthey have 
left no stone unturned to help the deliverance of the coun- 
try from a bondage which is enervating a whole nation. 



288 


YOUNG INDIA 


I confess again that I have no ready-made plan^ 
for, .if I had I would not keep it from you or the coun- 
try. But I am giving you the whole of the working of 
my mind. I have no desire to obtain or retain the good- 
will of Englishman under false pretences. Even as the- 
Government abates no precaution or preparation for 
ensuring its existence and stability, when it may be* 
offering terms to Indian politicians, even so do I want 
my country to abate no effort to arm herself with a. 
weapon on which she may rely when the Government 
fails to respond to its wishes. 

You may know (for the communication is published) 
that Deshabandhu did not sign Dr. Besant’s manifesto- 
on her Bill, one of the grounds for which was that 
there was no sanction stipulated for in the event of 
rejection. That sanction was to be civil resistance. 
Will you have the country’s manhood absolutely 
paralysed and rendered utterly ineffective for any re- 
sistance, violent or non-violent, before the British 
Government can possibly think of offering any terms or 
considering proposals that might . be made by the 
Swarajya Party or any other? If so, I assure you, no* 
self-respecting Indian will voluntarily be party to a 
condition so degrading. 


6th August, 1925 
TEACHERS’ CONDITION 
By m, K. Gandhi 

A deputation from the All Bengal Teachers’ Associa- 
tion waited upon me sometime ago and asked me to 
advise them how they could better- their condition’ ancf 



TEACHERS’ CONDITION 


289> 


be of service to the country. They admitted that at 
the present moment they were not doing much good to 
the country. This is how they described their condi- 
tion : The teachers are now engaged in performing a 
thankless task under a heavy personal sacrifice. They 
are imparting an education which is unprofitable and 
uninteresting through no fault of their own. They are 
to mechanically follow a curriculum of studies which 
provides for no religious, moral and vocational training. 
The education given today in Bengal through nearly 
900 schools and by 20,000 teachers is domineered over 
by an examination system which only encourages cram- 
ming. The teachers are looked down upon as they are 
miserably underpaid. There is a large number of cases 
of mutual distrust and lack of sympathy between the 
teachers and the school authorities as well as the 
guardians. Education does not provide for physical- 
training and is imparted through the foreign medium,, 
resulting in a huge waste of national energy. *’ • 

To all this the teachers might have added that the 
pupils are devitalised and have lost all initiative. I gave 
them an answer which satisfied them for the time-being 
but they took from me a promise that I would deal with 
the problem in these pages. 

In my opinion the root of the evil lies in the foreign 
domination, and the root of foreign domination liea 
in ourselves. I am aware that we shall never deal with 
these problems unless and until we deal with the root- 
evil. If we had our own government, the teachers 
would be able to vindicate their position. Having our 
own government means a government never strong 
enough to override by force of arms the wishes of the 
majority, in other words a government responsible to- 
19 



290 


YOUNG INDIA 


public opinion. To-day the teachers have public opinion 
behind them in many things but it is helpless against a 
a power that is armed for dealing with any possible 
physical combination on the part of the people of India, 
No government in the world is so irresponsible and so 
unresponsive to the opinion of the millions of men and 
women of India as the Government of India. It was the 
Tealisation of this fact that made Gokhale postpone 
everything else to, the effort for winning self-government. 
Lokamanya was so impatient that he made his formula, 
“ Swaraj is my birthright ” ring from one end of India 
to the other. He suppressed his taste for scholarship 
and philosophy in favour of Swaraj. Deshabandhu laid 
down his life in the same pursuit. All those who are like 
the teachers have, therefore, no remedy for their disease 
save that of gaining Swaraj as quickly as possible. How 
is that to be attained ? I have pointed out the remedy 
and the country is supposed to have adopted it. The 
only change is that to the effort within must be 
added the effort without, viz, entry into the legis- 
latures. The teachers cannot enter these institutions, 
they cannot take part in active politics but they 
•can all spin or if they like do some other labour. 
They must not expect their pupils to labour, if 
the teachers will not labour themselves and I have 
suggested spinning because all can be engaged in it not 
for private profit but for discipline and national profit. 
Self-government means continuous effort ' to be 
independent of government control whether it is foreign 
government or whether it is national. Swaraj govern- 
nient will be a sorry affair if people look up to it for 
the regulation of every detail of life. Do the teachers 
realise that the pupils are an exaggerated edition of 



TEA.CHERS' CONDITION 291 

what they themselves are? If they will have the 
initiative, the pupils, will soon begin to have it. The 
examination system as it is, becomes doubly oppressive 
by reason of the mechanical method of instruction. 
Only the other day, inspecting a school, I asked a boy 
to tell me what and where Pataliputra — about which 
he had read to me from his book — was. He could not 
tell. This was neither the fault of the Government nor 
the pupils, assuredly the teacher’s. Teachers can, if 
they will, make their tution interesting and eaffective in 
spite of the deadening weight of the examination 
system. In spite of the medium of instruction being 
the English language in the higher classes it is open to 
the teachers to take cave of the mother-tongue of the 
boys under them. There is no rule preventing them 
talking to the boys in their mother tongues. The fact 
is that most teachers do not know the vernacular names 
for technical expressions and find it difficult to make 
themselves intelligible in the vernacular when the 
subject of their discourse is technical. We have got 
into the very slovenly habit, in order as we fancy to 
give point to our conversations of using English 
adjectives, adverbs and even phrases of the English 
language. If the teachers wish it many of the defects 
of the present system could be cured by them. 

I have given only a few out of many possible 
illustrations of what can be done under the present 
system. It was my recognition of the evil of the 
system that made me conceive non-co-operation, but a 
revival of it just now seems to be almost an impossibility. 
I am, therefore, recommending what is in some respects 
more difficult of accomplishment. ' It is easier for the 
average man to run away from evil than remain in it 



292 


YOUNG INDIA 


and still remain unaffected by it. Many men can shun 
grog-shops and remain teetotallers, but not many can 
remain in these pestilential places and avoid the 
contagion. 

However the teachers have asked for advice and I 
can but place it before them so that each may then 
^respond to the best of his ability. The unfortunate 
position is that educated Indians take to teaching, not 
for the love of it, but because they have nothing 
better and Clothing else for giving them a livelihood* 
Many of them even enter the teaching profession with 
a view to preparing for what they regard as a better 
thing. The wonder is that inspite of this self-imposed 
inital handicap so many teachers are not worse 
than they are. By well-ordered agitation no doubt 
they may better their pecuniary prospects, but I 
see no chance even under a Swaraj government of the 
scale of salary being raised much higher than it is* 
today. I believe in the ancient idea of teachers teach- 
ing for the love of it and receiving the barest 
maintenance. The Roman Catholics have retained 
that idea and they are responsible for some of the best 
educational institutions in the world. The Rishis of 
old did even better. They made their pupils members 
of their families, but in those days that class of teaching 
which they imparted was not intended for the masses. 
They simply brought up a race of real teachers of 
mankind in India. The masses got their training in 
their homes and in their hereditary occupations. It was 
a good enough ideal for those times. Circumstances 
have now changed. There is a general insistent 
demand for literary training. The masses claim the 
same attention as the classes. How far it is possible 



FATE OF NON-CO-OPERATORS 


293 


and beneficial to mankind generally cannoc be discussed 
Ihere. There is nothing inherently wrong in the desire 
for learning. Tf it is directed in a healthy channel 
it can only do good. Without, therefore, stopping to 
devise means for avoiding the inevitable, we must 
make the best use possible of it. Thousands of teachers 
-cannot be bad for the asking, nor will they live by 
begging. They must have a salary guaranteed and as 
we shall require quite an army of teachers their 
remuneration cannot be in proportion to the intrinsic 
worth of their calling but it will have to be in propor- 
tion to the capacity of the nation for payment. We 
may expect a steady rise as we realise the relative 
merits of the different callings. The rise must be 
painfully slow. There must, therefore, arise a class of 
men and women in India who will from patriotic 
motives choose teaching as a profession, irrespective of 
the material gain that it may bring them. The nation 
will not underrate the calling of the teacher. On the 
contrary, it will give the first place in its affection to 
these self-sacrificing men and women. And so we 
come to this that as our Swaraj is possible largely* by 
our own efforts, so is the teachers’ rise possible mainly 
by their own ei'fort. ^Tbey must bravely and patiently 
cut their way through to success. 


d'l/i October^ 1925 

FATE OF NON-CO-OPERATORS 
By M. K. Gandhi 


A friend asks, With your complete surrender to the Swaraj 
Party what will be the fate of those who have made non- 



294 


YOUNG INDIA 


co-operation their political religion V The questioner forgets 
that I remain just as confirmed a non-co-operator as ever. And 
it is not only my political but it is also my domestic .and social 
religion. As I have repeatedly said in these pages, voluntary 
and health-giving co-operation is impossible without the possibi- 
lity of non-co-operation at a certain stage and under certain 
conditions. The Congress does not prescribe to anybody his 
religion. It is a sensitive barometer, from time to time register- 
ing the variation in the temperament of politicaly minded India. 
No Congressman is bound to act contrary to his political 
religion. But he may not now use the name of Congress for 
furthering non-co-operation. Under the resolution, the prestige 
and financial resources of the Congress where they are not 
earmarked are pledged for the support of furthering the Swa- 
rajist Council policy and therefore not only are Congress 
organisations entitled to vote supplies for the furtherance of 
the Swarajist policy but they are bound where they would spend 
money for Council propaganda at all to use them for the 
Swarajist policy. Conversely no Congress organisation where 
there is a clear majority against spending or raising money for 
any pure political work is bound by the resolution to do so- 
contrary to their own belief. All Congress resolutions are for 
guidance and direction ; they cannot be for coercion. 

The correspondent further asks, ‘What will be the position 
of the Spinners' Association with reference to Non-co-opera- 
tion ?' That association has nothing to do with political non- 
co-operation. The preamble precludes politics. 1 am the 
President of that association, not in my capacity as a confirmed 
non-co-operator but in that of an out and out Khadi lover. It is 
a commercial or economic association with philanthropic 
motives. It will conduct commerce in Khaddar not for the 
benefit of its members but of the nation. The members instead 
of receiving dividends will give yearly subscriptions in order 
that the nation may gain through their subscriptions. It invites 
the politically minded co-operators and non-co-operators, Rajahs, 
Maharajahs and persons belonging to all castes and creeds 



FATE OF NOK-CO-OPERATORS 295 

who have faith in tljie economic capacity of the spinning wheel 
and Khaddar. 

The correspondent adds, ‘The programme of the Spinners^ 
Association cannot be complete without the five-fold boycott/ 
I do not see it at all. Why may not the busiest lawyer at least 
wear Khaddar as some are now doing ? Why may not the 
scholars and teachers of Government schools do likewise ? The 
council-goers are certainly doing it, so far as the Swarajists are 
concerned. They have taken Khaddar to the Assembly and the 
Councils. Several titled men habitually wear Khaddar. 

The last difficulty of my correspondent is, Tf the irrecon- 
cilable non-co-operators are driven out of the Congress and also 
find no place in the Spinners’ Association, will it be possible 
for them to form an All-India Association of their own V The 
question is extremely badly put. No one is ever driven out of 
the Congress. People may and do retire from it when they find 
the action of the majority to be in conflict with their conscience* 
The majority cannot be blamed for not suiting itself to the 
conscience of a minority. And if there are non-co-operators, 
who consider it to be repugnant to their conscience to remain 
in the Congress while it countenances Council-entry they may 
certainly retire- I would even go further and suggest that they 
should retire if by remaining in the Congress they wish to 
hamper Council work. In my opinion the Congress machinery 
needs to be worked without any friction from within. I have 
already shown there is room for non-co-operators in the Spin- 
ners’ Association as there is also for co-operators. If, in spite 
of it, there are non-co-operators who consider it their duty to 
form an All-India Association of their own, it is certainly 
possible for them to do so, but I would consider it to be 
thoroughly inadvisable. It is enough if the non-co-operators 
will for the time being carry on their non-co-operation in their 
own persons. 



YOUNG INDIA 




loth October j 1925 
NATIONAL EDUCATION 
By M. K. Gandhi 

During my travels those who are interested in national 
education tell me that whereas I constantly harp upon Khaddar 
untouchability, Hindu Muslim unity, nowadays one rarely finds 
mention even of national education in Young India. As a matter 
of fact the statement is true, but it must not be cited as a ground 
of complaint against me, if only because I am directly interested 
in the largest national university in India. But national 
education is not a thing which can now be advanced by any 
writing on my part. Its advance depends totally upon a proper 
"working of the institutions now inexistence. We cannot, we 
must not, any longer appeal to the youth of the country who 
are now receiving education in the Government institutions 
to leave them for they now know the pros and cons of the sub- 
ject. They are in Government institutions either out of weak- 
ness or out of their fondness for them or for their want of faith 
in national institutions. Whatever the reason, the only way to 
deal with their weakness fondness or want of faith is to make 
the national institutions strong and popular by sheer force of 
the character and ability of the teachers. 

There is before me an appeal by the South Calcutta 
National School. In a covering letter I am reminded that I 
paid during my prolonged stay in Calcutta a hprried visit to the 
institution. The appeal is signed by influential men* Hand- 
spinning, I am reminded, is compulsory. There are one hundred 
boys on the rolls and eighteen teachers, — so the appeal runs. 
The school receives an annual grant of Rs. 200. There are 
many such institutions throughout the length and breadth of 
India from whose teachers I receive requests either for adverti- 
sing them in these columns or better still becoming signatory 
to a direct appeal for funds. I must not yield to the temptation 
even at the risk of overlooking some very deserving institutions. 



NATIONAL EDUCATION 297 

A hurried visit and an impression created b}'- such a visit must 
not be allowed to harm an institution if the impression is bad. 
Nor must a false but favourable impression be allowed to bolster 
up an institution that is in reality undeserving. It is my settled 
conviction that no deserving institution ever dies for want of 
support. Institutions that have died have done so either 
because there was nothing in them to commend them to the 
public or because those in control have themselves lost faith, 
•or which is perhaps the same thing, lost stamina. I would 
therefore urge the conductors of this and other such institutions 
not to give in because of the general depression. It is a time 
of test for worthy institutions. There are several at the present 
moment in India which are struggling against the heaviest odds' 
where, though the teachers are living in want, they have faith in 
themselves and their cause, I know that they will prosper in 
the end and be the stronger for the ordeal they are passing 
through. I would advise the public to study such institutions 
and support them if they find them desirable and deserving. 

I have observed in many institutions I have visited a 
tendency to patronize spinning because it has become somewhat 
of a fashion nowadays. It is far from doing justice to a great 
•cause or to pupils. If spinning is to be revived as an indispens- 
able industry, it must be treated seriously and must be taught 
in a proper and scientific manner like the other subjects taught 
in well-managed schools. The wheels will then be in perfectly 
good order and condition, will conform to all the tests laid down 
in these columns from time to time, the pupils' work would be 
regularly tested from day to day just as all their exercises 
would be or should be. And this is impossible unless all the 
teachers will learn the art with its technique. It is a waste of 
money to have a spinning expert. Every teacher has to become 
one, if spinning has to be effectively taught, and if the teacher 
believes in the necessity of spinning he can learn it without 
any difficulty in a month's time if he would give two hours to it 
‘daily. But I have said that whilst Charkha spinning maybe 
taught so as to enable boys and girls if they wish to use the 



298 


YOUITG INDIA 


spinning wheel in their own homes, for class-spinning the Tdkh 
is the most economical and the most profitable instrument. It 
is any day better that five hundred boys spin twenty five yards- 
each for half an hour at a stated time daily than fifty boys at 
intervals spinning one hundred yards each in the same half 
hour. Five hundred boys will spin 12,500 yards daily on the 
Tdkli against 5,000 of fifty boys on the Charkha. 


5th November, 1925 
A HOTCH-POT OF QUESTIONS 
By M. K. Gandhi 

I have got some taxing readers of Young India who oftenJ 
ask inconvenient questions. But as they please them I must 
suffer the inconvenience and answer their questions, however 
vexing they may be. This is how a correspondent fires the first 
shot: 

‘"Who is responsible for the word * Mahatma ’ before your name* 
of the list of Executive Councilors, A. I. S. A., as given in Young Indicu 
of 1st October ? ” 

The correspondent may depend upon it that the editor is. 
not responsible for the appearance of the word Mahatma in the 
list of members of the Council of the A. 1. S. A. Those who 
passed the Constitution are certainly responsible for it. Had 
I offered Satyagraha against it, the word might not have 
appeared. But I did not consider the offence to be serious^ 
enough to call for the use of that terrible weapon. Unless some 
catastrophe takes place the offensive word will always be 
associated with my name, and the patient critics must tolerate 
it even as 1 do. 

“You say you live, in common with other fellow -workers, on the* 
charity of friends who defray the expenses of Sabarmati Satyagrah- 
asram. Do you think it proper for an institution of able-bodied men. 
to live on the charity of friends ? ” 



A HOTCH-POT OF QUESTIONS 


29 & 


The correspondent has taken the word ‘ charity ’ too 
literally. Let him understand that every member of the insti- 
tution gives both his or her body and mind to its work. But 
the institution can still be said to live on the charity of friends^ 
because the latter get no return for their donations. The fruits- 
of the labour of the inmates go to the nation. 

“What IS your view on what Tolstoy calls ‘Bread-labour ? ’ Do- 
you really earn your living by your bodily labour ? 

Strictly speaking bread labour is not a word of Tolstoy’s, 
coining. He took it from another Russian writer Bondarif, and 
it means that everyone is expected to perform sufficient body 
labour in order to entitle him to it. It is not therefore necessary 
to earn one’s living by bread labour, taking the word living in 
its broader sense. But every one must perform some useful 
body labour. For me at the present moment spinning is the 
only body labour I give. It is a mere symbol. I do not give 
enough body labour. That is also one of the reasons why I 
consider myself as living upon charity. But I also believe that 
such men will have to be found in every nation who will give 
themselves body soul and mind to it and for their sustenance 
throw themselves on the mercy of their fellow men, that is, on 
God. 

“I think that you have said somewhere that young men must- 
simplify their wants and must ordinarily be able to live on Rs. 30 a 
month. Is it possible for educated youths to live without books,, 
without travels, without even a wish to come into contact with great 
minds? All these things mean money. They must save something,, 
too, to provide against circumstances of age, sickness, etc.” 

In well ordered society, such national servants as the 
correspondent refers to will have access to free libraries and the 
necessary travelling expenses will be paid by the nation, and 
the very nature of their work will bring them in contact with 
great minds. They will also be supported by the nation during, 
sickness, old age, etc. This is no new conception, whether for 
India or elsewhere. 

“ You seem to advocate the starting of temples for Panchamas- 
as a step in the direction of their amelioration, 3 s it not a fact that. 



300 


YOUNG INDIA 


the Hindu mind, confined for generations past within things like the 
“‘temple,’ has generally lost the power of any larger vision of God ? 
When you seek to remove untouchability, when you seek to raise the 
‘untouchables’ and accord them a place of freedom and dignity in 
.society, need you do so by encouraging them to copy the present day 
caste Hindus even in the matter of the latter’s vices, sins and super- 
stitions? In the course of ameliorating the “untouchables,” may we 
not also reform the Hindu community as a whole, so far at least as 
worship of temple gods is concerned ? In the course of freeing the 
depressed classes from their present social disabilities, may we not 
seek also to free their mind and thought, and thus let social reforms 
.bring into being a broader religious and intellectual outlook ? 

“It may be pointed out as a parallel case that the Khaddar 
propaganda to be really successful must not only aim at replacement 
of foreign cloth, but also seek to remove the non-national and anti- 
climatic fashions and tastes in dress, as indeed it has already done to 
.some extent.” 

I do not regard the existence of temple as a sin or supersti- 
tion. Some form of common worship, and a common place of 
worship appear to be a human necessity. Whether the temples 
should contain images or not is a matter of temperament and 
taste. I do not regard a Hindu or Roman Catholic place of 
'Worship containing images as necessarily bad or superstitious 
and a mosque or a Protestant place of worship being good or 
free of superstition merely because of their exclusion of images. 
A symbol such as a Cross or a book may easily become idola- 
trous, and therefore superstitious. And the worship of the 
image of child Krishna or Virgin Mary may become ennobling 
and free of all superstitions. It depends upon the attitude of 
sthe heart of the worshiper. 

I do not see the parallel between the Khaddar propaganda 
and the building of temples for the so-called untouchables. But 
I grant the argument of the correspondent that the agitation 
against foreign cloth should include the giving up of unneces- 
sary and harmful foreign fashions and tastes. But this does 
not need separate preaching. As a rule those who have adopt- 



A HOTCH-POT OP QUESTION’S 30r 

ed Khaddar have also eschewed such fashions and tastes in 
dress as are wholly unnecessarj*' for our climate. 

I am under the impression that you supported the Khilafat 
cause because your brothers the Indian Muslims felt strongly about 
it. But is it just or right to help any cause without oneself being 
satisfied as to its intrinsic worth, simply because one’s brothers 
rightly or wrongly feel keenly about it ? Or was it the case that 
you were satisfied yourself that the Ehilafat, as such, was a worthy 
right cause ? If so, will you give your reasons, seeing that even 
modern Turkey has at one stroke done away with this institution 
which she presumably considers, is calculated to perpetuate a most 
unreasonable and virulent type of fanaticism in the Islamic world?” 

The correspondent is quite correct in his contention 
that even a brother's cause has to be examined and proved 
to be just to one's satisfaction before one can help him. I was 
myself satisfied when I decided to throw in my lot with my 
Muslim brothers that their case was just. I must refer to the 
contemporary files of Young India for my reasons for consider- 
ing the IChilafat cause to be just. Everything that modern 
Turkey does is not necessarily defensible. Further, Mussulmans 
may make whatever innovations they like in their practices. 
A non-Moslem cannot dictate innovations in Islam. All he 
can do is to examine the general morality of a system or 
practice before he defends it. I had satisfied myself that 
there was nothing intrinsically wrong in the institution of 
Khilafat. The correctness of the Islamic position was admitted 
by other non-Muslims including Mr. Llyod George himself 
and the institution was defended by me against non-Muslim 
attack. 

“ Were you not helping the cause of War when you, both while 
in Africa and here, enlisted men for field service ? How does it tally 
with your principle of Alimsa ?” 

By enlisting men for Ambulance work in South Africa and 
in England, and recruits for field service in India, I helped 
not the cause of war but I helped the institution called the 
British Empire in whose ultimate beneficial character I then 
believed. My repugnance to war was as strong then as it is 



302 


YOUNG- INDIA 


today ; and I could not then have and would not have shoulder- 
<ed a rifle. But one's life is not a single straight line; 
at is a bundle of duties very often conflicting. And one is 
called upon continually to make one's choice between one duty 
and another. As a citizen not then and not even now, a re- 
former leading an agitation against the institution of war, I had 
to advise and lead men who believed in war but who from 
cowardice, or from base motives or from anger against the 
British Government refrained from enlisting. I did not hesitate 
to advise them that so long as they believed in war and 
professed loyalty to the British constitution they were in 
duty bound to support it by enlistment. Though I do not 
believe m the use of arms, and though it is contrary to the 
religion of Ahimsiz which I profess, I should not hesitate to join 
an agitation for a repeal of the debasing Arms Act which I 
have considered amongst the blackest crimes of the British 
Government against India. I do not believe in retaliation, but 
I did not hesitate to tell the villagers near Bettiah four years 
ago that they who knew nothing of Ahimsa were guilty of 
cowardice in failing to defend the honour of their women-folk 
and their property by force of arms. And I have not hesitated 
as the correspondent should know only recently to tell the 
Hindus that if they do not believe in out and out Ahimsa and 
cannot practice it they will be guilty of a crime against their 
religion and humanity if they failed to defend by force of arms 
the honour of their women against any kidnapper who chooses 
to take away their women. And all this advice and my 
previous practice I hold to be not only consistent with my 
profession of the religion of Ahimsa out and out, but a direct 
result of it. To state that noble doctrine is simple enough ; to 
know it and to practice it in the midst of a'world full of strife, 
turmoil and passions is a task whose difficulty I realise more 
and more day by day. And yet the conviction too that without 
it life is not worth living is growing daily deeper. 



COUNCILS ENTRY 


303 


The following notes by M. K. Gandhi appeared in 
Young India of 17th December^ 1925 : 

COUNCILS ENTRY 

An American publicist writes : “I am sorry to see you 
support, in any way, going into the Councils. If you were right 
before you came to this position, j^'ou are wrong now. I have 
always likened Councils to a tin plate given to a baby with the 
statement : ‘This is the moon, dear play with it ; all you wish.’ ’’ 

The writer reading scrappy bits from my writing, has 
•evidently misunderstood my position. I hold to the same 
position that I occupied in 1920-21 regarding Councils entry. I 
do not support going into the Councils. But I claim to be a 
practical man. I do not blind my eyes, and refuse to see facts 
that stare me in the face. I recognise that some of my best 
friends and co-workers who sailed in the same vessel with me 
in I920-’2I have gone off the vessel and altered their course. 
They are as much representatives of the nation as I claim to be. 
I have therefore to determine the extent to which I can accom- 
modate ray course to theirs, and Councils entry being a fact 
which I cannot alter, I have hadino hesitation in tendering to 
my colleagues, the Swarajists, such help as it is possible for me 
to give, just as, though pacifist myself, I cannot help sympathi- 
sing with the brave Riffs as against the European usurpers. 

MALAVIYAJI AND LALAJI 

An active member of the Hindu Mahasabha has sent me 
fifteen questions to ’ answer in the pages of Young India and 
NdvajivaJi. Another has discussed several matters after the 
•style of these questions. I do not propose to answer all of them. 
But some of them I dare not avoid. They draw my attention 
to the attacks being made in the press on Pandit Madan Mohan 
Malaviyaji and Lalaji. The questions put to me are : 'Do you 
question their good faith ? Do you regard them as being oppos- 



304 


YOUNG INDIA 


ed to Hindu-Muslim unity either directly or indirectly ? Do you 
consider them to be capable wilfully of doing harm to the 
country ?’ I do occasionally see the attacks made against these 
patriots. I know also that many of my Mussalman friends 
thoroughly distrust both these distinguished public men. But 
however much I may differ from them in many respects, I have 
never been able to distrust either of them. Indeed I have 
noticed among Hindu circles similar attacks on several promi- 
nent Mussalman workers as I have m Mussalman circles against 
Malaviyaji and Lalaji. I have not been able to believe either 
the one or the other charge. But I have not been able to carry 
home my belief to either party. Malaviyaji and Lalaji are both 
tried servants of the country, both have to their credit a long, 
unbroken and distinguished record of service. I have had the 
privilege of enjoying confidential relations with them, and I 
cannot recall a single occasion wh'en I have found them to be 
anti-Muslim. Not that, therefore, they have not distrusted 
Mussalman leaders, or that their views and mine about the 
solution of the very difficult and delicate question have been 
identical. They have never questioned the necessity of unity, 
and they have ever according to their own lights, striven for it. 
In my opinion to question the good faith of these leaders is to 
doubt the possibility of unity. Their voices will count as effec- 
tively in Hindu society when we come to terms— as some day 
we must— as say, precisely, the voices of Hakim Saheb and 
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad will count in Muslim circles. 
Indeed my prescription to every -public worker is to take every 
worker at his own word till there is positive proof to the 
contrary. A believer loses nothing even where he has been 
misled and cheated. Public life in the midst of suspicion and 
distrust becomes intolerable when it does not become impossible. 



TO WHAT STATE FALLEN 


305 


^4th December, 1926 
TO WHAT STATE FALLEN 
By M. K. Gandhi 

It is wonderful how when a person or an institution begins 
to recede from a position, the return takes him or it sometimes, 
even below the original state. A correspondent says in effect : 
“ From Non-co-operation, we are hurrying down to co-operation. 
Presently we shall perform an operation in amputation so that 
we have nothing but the useless trunk left ! Here are some of 
the conditions imposed upon what was at one time a well- 
managed national school, if it is to receive Government recog- 
nition : The present Headmaster should not only resign, but 
should not be a member of the School Committee and should 
have nothing to do with the management in any shape or form.. 
He must not live on the school permises. The boys and 
teachers must not take part in political meetings or in any anti- 
Government demonstrations. The rules governing the manage- 
ment should be so changed as to render Non-co-operation in 
future impossible. For another school which is awaiting 
recognition summary orders are said to have been issued that 
recognition cannot be granted unless certain books by well- 
known Indian writers have been removed from the school 
library, and other similar humiliating conditions are satisfied.^* 
This reminds one of the conditions that were imposed during 
the Punjab Martial Law days upon the dismissed scholars if 
they were to be re-admitted. It seems that the lesson of the 
Punjab has been lost upon the school masters and scholars. I 
can understand reaction against Non-co-operation because it 
appeared to be a new idea which could not be demonstrated to 
have succeeded, but servile co-operation such as the conditions, 
imply is inexplicable. One would think that a national school,. 
* ill-conducted it may be, housed in an ill-constructed dialapidat- 
ed building is any day superior to a well-conducted Government 
■school housed in a glittering palace where neither the school- 
master nor the scholars can retain their self-respect. 

20 



306 


YOUNG INDIA 


18th March ^ 1926 
NOT DESPONDENT 
By M. K. Gandhi 

I would also share with the reader my correspondent’s 
optimism in giving me his reflections upon the present condi- 
tion of political India. He says : 

“ As regards * the things as I see them now *, I am glad I do not 
feel as much disappointed as many of my friends do. I do not feel 
that Non-co-operation has failed or that we have seen its last. I 
still believe that India will get Swaraj in the near future and that 
the jdnal victory is to be achieved through Civil Revolution. We 
may have to change our programme, but the salvation is to come 
through that source alone. I believe that the victory is to come to 
us in the near future. By near future, I do not mean one 
year, nor even five years, but certainly less than ten years ; because 
I find the heart of the people still sound. What is wrong is with 
those who have to give lead to the' people. It is the educated classes 
whom the common people generally look for guidance who have gone 
astray. If they could again realise their responsibilities, the masses 
would follow their footsteps as surely as the magnet follows the 
poles. 

How nice it would be if all Non-co-operators were to 
share this correspondent’s faith in Non-co-operation and 
Civil Disobedience ! He may see that though Non-co-operation 
has not brought us Swaraj in the tangible sense that the people 
.understand, it has revolutionised our political aspect; has 
brought into being mass consciousness which, in my opinion, 
nothing else could have done. And there is no doubt about it 
that whenever freedom comes, it will come through some 
application of Non-co-operation including Civil Disobedience. 
Eor, inspite of whatever maybe said to the contrary, the 
method of violence has no following worth the name especially 
among the masses, and no method for the attainment of 
Swaraj can possibly succeed unless the masses also adopt it. 
If the definition of Swaraj includes the freedom not of a certain 
number of individuals or certain classes but of the whole of the 



OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED 


307 


anasses of India, only Non'«?cb-op6ration and all that it means 
can regulate that mass consciousness which is absolutely 
necessary for Democratic Swaraj. Only Non-violent, and there- 
fore constructive methods, will weld the masses together and 
fire them with a national purpose and give them the desire and 
ability to achieve and defend national freedom. 


Sth Aprils 1926 
OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED*^ 

By M. K. GandSi 

“ You say that Swaraj can only come to us as the 
result of a bloody battle in the bad old .way or through 
spinning away for all we are worth in our village homes 
in the good new way of the Mahatma. This is only another 
instance of hypnosis by a catch- word. What steps have 
been taken, by you or the others concerned, beyond mere 
repetition of the doctrine, to convince people that this 
spinning away < I) is possible, (2) is desirable, ( 3 ) will be 
effective } I have yet to see a plain, intelligible, fairly well^ 
reasoned-out statement, answering doubts and questions,' 
as to (l) whether it is possible, in view of the rent and 
revenue laws, to retain and detain the needed cotton within 
the country, and in the hand of the right persons; 
(2) whether and how far it is desirable to do so, in view of 
the effects of such a step, upon the other industries which 
have grown up ; ( 3 ) whether it will be effectual, and if so 
directly requiring other steps, and, if so, what steps, to 
bring about Swaraj (whatever that might mean !) I have re- 
peatedly tried to get leading exponents of the cult to thresh 
out the thing, pro and con, in public print, or even private 
discussion, but have failed so far. Only once I had an 
opportunity of questioning the fountain-head of the doctrine 
himself vis- Mahatmaji, and the opportunity was limited to 
putting only the question as to the possibility. He content- 
ed himself with simply saying, " Yes, it is possible. ” There 



308 


YOUNG INDIA 


were many other persons, and more .important matters, to 
deal with ; so my doubts and fears remained unallayed. ” 
The preceding quotation is from an informing letter by 
Babu Bhagwandas to Maulana Mahomed Ali and published by 
him in the Co 7 nrade, Though it is to be found in an old issue 
(l8th December last), I regret to say I saw it only during the 
current week, I may say at the outset that I do not remember 
the conversation referred to by Babu Bhagwandas. For me 
nothing in the political world is more important than the spin- 
ning wheel, lean recall many occasions when I have post- 
poned other matters to make room for a discussion on the 
spinning wheel as central part of our economics or polticsv 
But whatever fate overtook Babu Bhagwandas's question put 
to me when I had the privilege of being his guest, the root 
questions raised by him must be answered That the spinning 
wheel is possible is being daily demonstrated with increasing, 
force. Amid the many seeming impossibilities e, g., Hindu- 
Muslim unity, the spinning wheel alone is being demonstrated* 
as a possibility, as witness the growing organisations in Tamil 
Nad, Andhra, Karnataka, Punjab, Bihar, and Bengal etc. If 
the organisations are not more numerous,, it is because the 
workers are too few. There is no inherent impossibility in the 
wheel. It has been worked before with the greatest success. 
There are millions who can work it, who have the required 
leisure for it and, who are in need of a cottage occupation. 

That it is desirable may be proved from the mere fact that 
it is the best adopted for this vast country of seven hundred 
thousand villages. 

No one can say with certainty whether it will be effective. 
If it is premissible to infer from the experience being gained 
in the several provinces, it can be safely asserted that it is 
highly probable that it will be effective. It cam even be boldy 
asserted that no other industry has as yet been proved! to be as 
effective as the spinning wheel for the purpose inteudiedl 

Babu Bhagwandas mentions thq adverse effect of rent and 
revenue laws. He thereby draws attention to the diflSculty,. not 



OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED 30^ 

the impossibility of revival of the one national industry that 
gave the peasantry its staying power one century ago. Revenue 
and rent laws are not immutable. In so far as they interfere 
with the growth of the spinning industry, they must be altered. 
“ But ' it will be said, ‘ they cannot be altered without Swaraj. ' 
The answer is that Swaraj cannot be obtained without organis- 
ing spinning inspite of the laws. For the fight for Swaraj 
means fighting difficulties however great they may be. Violence 
is the accepted though barbarous method of fighting. Organising 
the spinning wheel is the moral method of fighting for Swaraj. 
Organising the spinning wheel is the easiest and the cheapest 
method of peacefully organising the masses. Surely if cotton 
can be exported thousands of miles away, there spun, brought 
back in the shape of yarn - for sale to the very exporter;^, there 
should be no difficulty about shifting it, in India itself, a few 
miles away from the seat of its cultivation. There is no 
difficulty about a non-rice-growing province importing rice from 
the rice-growing province. Why should there be any in so 
handling cotton ? The process is going on today. Bihar has to 
import .cotton from Wardha or Cawnpore. 

But, says Babu Bhagwandas, it may be undesirable ‘in 
view of the effects of such a step upon the other industries 
which have grown up. ' What other industries ? And if they 
are adversely affected, should that interfere with the prosecution 
of an industry which is as necessary to the national life as 
cithler lung is to the body? Should we be afraid to promote 
total prohibition because it must interfere with the established 
distilleries ? Or must a reformer be deterred from advocating 
.abstention from the'opium habit for fear of harming the opium 
growers ? Babu Bhagwandas cites the Champaran ryot who 
could not keep enough food grain for sustenance. That was 
because he had not enough for all his wants. If he had spun 
or if the taxation was light, he could have kept enough for his 
wants. He got partial relief by the removal of the burden of 
growing indigo compulsorily. He could still further better his 
condition if he would utilise his idle hours (he has many) by 



310 


YOUNG INDIA 


spinning unless he found a more profitable industry. But he 
will not spin, unless the educated class set the fashion andl 
assure him that the wheel is not to be a nine day’s wonder. 

Babu Bhagwandas however exclaims : 

“If to spin away is so easily possible, so desirable, so 
effective, there must after all be some reason why the three- 
hundred millions don’t take to it at once, why the Congress 
membership has dwindled down to nine thousand odd. ” 

Surely he knows many things ‘possible, desirable, and 
effective,’ not happening for want of will or effort. Universal 
educatipn is ‘possible, desirable and effective’ but people do not 
resort to it readily. And, it will require the energy of an armcy 
of trained workers to instil into the minds of the people the 
necessity of taking the trouble to be educated. Sanitary 
precautions are ‘ possible, desirable and effefctive But why do^ 
the villagers not take to them as soon as they are brought to. 
their notice? The answer seems to be simple. Progress is* 
slow. It is lame. It requires effort, organisation, time and 
expense in exact proportion to its importance. The greatest 
stumbling block in the way of the more rapid progress of 
spinning, great as it is, is the disinclination or the inability of 
the cultured classes, the natural leaders of the people, to> 
recognise the supreme place the spinning wheel has in any 
scheme of national regeneration. The very simplicity of it 
seems to bewilder them. 


27th May, 1926 
ITS MEANING 
By M. K. Gandhi 

On my return from Mahableshwar I was waylaid, though 
by previous appointment, by fellow non-co-operators. I hadl 
limited myself strictly to visiting patients during this unexpect- 
ed visit to His Excellency the Acting Governor at Mahableswar. 



ITS MEANING 


311 


And so before reaching Poona station I had arranged just to go 
to Prof. Trivedi’s house to see my young friend Manu who 
among others had been tome at the Sassoon Hospital in Poona 
in 1924 an angel of mercy. It was during this visit that I had tO’ 
divide my time between Manu and the non-co-operators- The 
latter had the lion’s share of it. Manu disengaged me in a few 
minutes. I envied him as a patient. For though he has been laid 
up in bed for over six months, I found him quite cheerful and 
resigned. I had therefore no compunction about leaving him 
for a chat with non -co-operating friends. 

“How can you go to the governor and call yourself a non- 
co-operator ?” was the question with which I was greeted. 

“ I knew what your ailment was,” said I. *T shall answer all 
your questions fully, but on condition that nothing of what I 
say is to be published by you. If I find it advisable, I shall deal 
with the matter in the pages of Young IndiaP 

“Yes, we won’t publish anything and shall be satisfied if 
you will answer our questions in Young India, Not that I have 
any doubt about the propriety of your action, ” added the ques- 
tioner. “ but I represent a large number of non-co-operators 
whom you often confound by your unexpected acts.” 

“Well, then, let me have all your questions and I shall en- 
deavour to answer them though I confess that it will be all a 
waste of time. For I feel that time is past for explanations and 
persuasion. Non-co-operators must instinctively know that I 
am not likely to do anything contrary to our code. And if I do,. 
— for I admit I am liable to err, — they must disown me and re- 
main firm in their own convictions. They may have derived 
their non-co-operation from me but if they have assimilated it„ 
their convictions must not depend upon mine. It must be inde- 
pendent of me and my weaknesses and errors. If I turn traitor 
or to put it mildly, if I alter my opinion, they must be ready to 
denounce me and still abide by their own convictions. That is 
why I say that our conversation will be a waste of national time. 
Convinced non-co-operators know their task. Let them fulfil 
it. But let me have your questions.” 



312 


YOUNG INDIA 


“It has been suggested in Bombay that you went to the 
'Governor uninvited, in*fact you forced yourself upon his atten- 
tion. If so, was it not co-operation even without response ? 
what could you have to do with the Governor, I wonder ?” 

“My answer is that I am quite capable even of 
forcing myself upon the attention of • my opponent 
when I have strength. I did so in South Africa. I 
•sought interviews after interviews with General Smuts 
when I knew that I was ready for battle. I pleaded with him, 
to avoid the untold hardships that the Indian settlers must 
suffer, if the great historic march had to be undertaken. It is 
true that he in his haughtiness turned a deaf ear ; but I lost 
nothing. I gained added strength by my humility. So would I 
do in India when we are strong enough to put up a real fight 
for freedom. Remember that ours is a non-violent struggle. 
It pre-supposes humility. It is a truthful struggle and con- 
sciousness of truth should give us firmness. We are not out to 
■destroy men. We own no enemy. We have no ill-will against. 
,a single soul on earth. We mean to convert by our suffering. 
I do not despair of converting the hardest-hearted or the most 
selfish Englishman. Every opportunity of meeting him is 
therefore welcome to me. 

“Let me distinguish. Non-violent non-co-operation means 
renunciation of the benefits of a system with which we 
non-co-operate. We therefore renounce the benefits of schools, 
courts, tittles, legislatures and offices set up under the system. 
The most extensive and permanent part of our non-co-operation 
consists in the renunciation of foreign cloth which is the 
foundation for the vicious system that is crushing us to dust. 
It is possible to think of other items of non-co-operation. But 
owing to our weakness or want of ability, we have restricted 
ourselves to these items only. If then I go to any official for 
the purpose of seeking the benefits above-named I co-operate. 
Whereas if I go to the meanest official for the purpose of 
converting him, say to Khaddar, or weaning him from his 
service or persuading him to withdraw his children from 



ITS MEANING 


313 


Government schools, I fulfil my duty as a non-co-operator. I 
should fail if I did not go to him with that definite and direct 
purpose. 

“Now for the case in point. I went to the acting Governor 
:at his instance. He wrote to me not as Governor nor for any 
purpose connected with his office as Governor- He invited me 
to go to Mahableswar to discuss with him agricultural matters. 
As I explained some time ago in the pages of Navajivan, I 
told him that I could not be indentified with the Royal 
‘Commission in any way, that I was still confirmed in my views 
•on non-co-operation and generally had no faith in Commissions. 
I added further that it would ♦ suit me to see him when he 
descended to the plains. His Excellency therefore wrote 
•saying it would suit him to meet me in June. But subsequent- 
ly he changed his mind and sent a message that it would suit 
him better if I could go to Mahableshwar. I had no hesitation 
in going there. We had two very pleasant and long talks. 
And you are entitled to guess (and that correctly) that our 
talk revolved round the Charkha. That was the central theme. 
And I could not discuss agriculture without discussing the 
terrific cattle problem ! ” 

I have given but a brief summary of the pleasant conversa- 
tion I had with the no-change friend. In parts I have 
.amplified my answer in order to make it more intelligible to 
the general reader. 

There were many other points discussed, of which I must 
mention one or two. I was asked to give my opinion on the 
.Sabarmati pact. I refused to say anything for publication. I 
must not add to the existing bitterness by entering into the 
■controversy. I can say nothing that would bring the 
parties together. They are all my co-workers. They 
are all patriots. The quarrel is purely domestic. It be- 
hoves me as a humble servant of the country to be silent where 
•speech is useless. I prefer therefore to wait and pray. I was 
told that I was misrepresented. I must own that I have 
tstudiously avoided reading the literature about the pact. I am 



314 


YOUNG INDIA 


used to misrepresentation all my life. It is the lot of every 
public worker. He has to have a tough hide. Life would be 
burdensome if every misrepresentation had to be answered and 
cleared. It is a rule of life with me never to explain misrepre- 
sentations except when the cause requires correction. This> 
rule has saved much time and worry. 

“ But what should we do when all accept offices and what 
should we do at the forthcoming elections ?” was the last 
question. 

My answer was : 

* When the acceptance of office by all parties becomes a 
settled fact, I presume those who have conscientious scruples, 
will refrain from voting altogether. At the forthcoming 
elections, too, those who have conscientious objections will 
refrain. The others will naturally follow the Congress lead and 
vote as the Congress directs. I have given my definition of ai 
Congressman already in these pages. Not every man who» 
says * I am a Congressman ’ is such, but only he who does the 
will of the Congress. 


17th June, 1926 

THE POSITION OF NON-CO-OPERATORS 
By M. K. Gandhi 

A friend asks : 

“ In the midst of so many parties in the country we 
hardly see where to set our feet. When so many parties* 
are being formed, is it not desirable that those few who^ 
still believe in the boycott of Councils, Hindu-Muslim unity 
etc. should consolidate their forces and re-declare their* 
ideals ? We are being accused of having turned our backs, 
on Swaraj and our creed of Non-violence is being openly 
sneered at. At every step we are being taunted that we 
are wasting our time and energy. I admit that one need) 
not be disturbed by taunts, but it does appear desirable to- 



MESSAGE TO THE STUDENTS 


315 ^ 


' organise ourselves and call upon those who are of our wa3" 
of thinking to join us. How long are we to have patience ?‘ 
How long must our faith be tried ?” 

If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of 
time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest 
storm. Non-violence acts in a manner contrary to violence. L 
cannot advise the formation of an additional party. Non-violent 
Non-co-operation can and must stand without an organised^ 
party. Non-violent Non-co-operation is on its trial. Let each 
one who has faith in boycott of Councils, law-courts, etc., stand 
firm even though he may be alone in his own district. Khaddar 
and national schools should satisfy every one who wants an 
occupation. The facts and figures I am reproducing from week 
to week from reports received from various Khadi centres must 
convince the most sceptical of the progress that Khadi is mak- 
ing, surely though slowly. And the progress that is now being; 
made is not due to any momentary enthusiasm but it is due to* 
a reasoned faith in Khadi. If Non-co-operators have faith in 
Non-violent Non-co-operation they will know that it is not 
dead but it is very much alive and that it will give a good ac- 
count of itself when the darkest cloud threaten the horizon. It 
will be found then to be the one sheet-anchor of Indians hope. 


17 th June, 1926 
MESSAGE TO THE STUDENTS 

The Gujarat Mahavidydlaya opened, after the last 
summer vacation, on June 14th, with an address from 
Gandhiji which, it being his day of silence, was read for 
him. The following is the translation : 

“1921 and 1926 — What a difference ? 

Please do not think that I am striking a melancholy note. 
We are not going back, our country is not going back. We 
have gone five years nearer Swaraj and there can be no doubt 



.316 


YOUNG INDIA 


* about it. If some one say that it was very nearly achieved in 
1921 and today it is far away, no one knows how far, do not 
believe it. Prayerful well-meaning effort never goes in vain, 
and man’s success lies only in such an effort. The result is 
■in His hands. 

Strength of numbers is the delight of the timid. The 
valiant of spirit glory m fighting alone. And you are all here 
ito cultivate that valour of the spirit. Be you one or many, this 
valour is the only true valour, all else is false. And the valour 

• of the spirit cannot be achieved without Sacrifice, Determina- 
tion, Faith and Humility. 

We have built our Vidyalaya on the foundation of self- 
purification. Non-violent Non-co-operation is one aspect of it. 
The ‘non’ means renunciation of violence and. all that stands 
for it, L e. all Government control. But so long as we do not 
•co-operate with our ‘ untouchable ’ brethern, so long as there 
is no heart-unity between men of different faiths, so long 
.as we do not co-operate with the millions of our country- 
men by according to the spinning wheel and Khaddar 
the sacred place they deserve, the negative prefix is entire- 
ly negatory. That non-co-operation will not be based on 
Ahimsa but himsa i. e, hatred. A negative injunction 
without a positive obligation is like body without soul, 
worthy to be consigned to the flames. There are 7,000 
railway stations for the 7,00,000 villages of India. We 
•do not even claim to know these 7,000 villages. We know only 
through history the condition of villages not within easy reach 
•of railway stations. The only loving tie of service that can 
bind the villagers to us is the spinning wheel. Those who 
have not yet understood this basic truth are in this institution 
to no purpose. The education is not ‘nationaF that takes no 
•count of the starving millions of India and that devises no 
means for their relief. Government contact with the villages 
ends with the collection of revenue. Our contact with them 
begins with their service through the spinning wheel, but it 
^does not end there. The spinning wheel is the centre of that 



MESSAGE TO THE STUDENTS 317 

service. If you spencf' your next vacation m some far-olT 
village in the interior you will see the truth of my remark. 
You will find the people cheerless and fear-stricken. You will 
find houses in ruins. You will look in vain for any sanitary or 
hygienic conditions. You will find the cattle in a miserable 
way, and yet you will see idleness stalking there. The people 
will tell you of the spinning wheel having been in their homes • 
long ago, but today they will entertain no talk of it or of any 
other cottage industry. They have no hope left in them. They 
live, for they cannot die at will. They will spin only if 
spin. Even if a hundred out of a population of 300 m a 
village spin, you assure them of an additional income 
of Rs. 1,800 a year. You can lay the foundation of solid 
reform on this income in every village. It is easy I know 
to say this, but difficult to do. Faith can make it easy. 

* I am alone, how can I reach seven hundred thousand villages?'' 
— This is the argument that pride whispers to us. Start with 
the faith that if you fix yourself up in one single village and' 
succeed, the rest will follow. Progress is then assured. The 
Vidyalaya wants to make you iVorkers of the type. If it is a 
cheerless job, the Vidyalaya is indeed cheerless and fit to be 
deserted. 

You will see that we open' this term .with a few changes in 
our staff. Acharya Gidwani whose sacrifice rendered the open- 
ing of this College possible, and who won the affection of stu- 
dents, has at my instance accepted the office of Principalship 
of Prem Maha Vidyalaya, Brindaban. 1 know that students 
were agitated over this. I congratulate them on their devotion 
to their principal. I give you today the consolation that I gave 
the students that saw me the other day. We have to* 
put up with these partings. We can but treasure the 
good things of our loved ones and follow them. Rest assured 
that we have done everything in the interests of the College. 
Fortunately we have .bjt. Nrisinhaprasad to serve* us as Vice-' 
Chancellor. He has lived with students for years and he often 
comes in contact with you. Trust yourselves to him. My doors 



-318 


YOUNG INDIA 


.are always open for every one of you. It has been a constant 
‘Source of sorrow to me that I have not been able to come as 
i closely in contact with you as I have wished. 

Professors Athavle, Dalai, Mazumdar and Shah have left 
the College. Their resignations were unavoidable. It is to be 
regretted that we shall no more have the benefit of their 
'•scholarship. But in their stead we have as Professors Sjts. 
Kikubhai, Janabhai Desai, Nagindas, Gopaldas and Gandhi. 
They are all ex-students of the Vidyalaya and well may we take 
a pardonable pride in the fact. Let their industrious scholar- 
^ship be a source of honour to us. May God bless you with 
long life for the selfless service of the country. 


Uth July, 1926 

STUDENTS AND NON-CO-OPERATION 
By M. K. Gandhi 

A student in a national college has written a long letter 
< of which I give the substance as follows : 

“ You are aware that in the year 1920 many students 
all over India left Government-controlled institutions. 
Several National institutions were started. Some have 
already gone under. The one that I know is a poor 
affair. It may be called a foreign imitation under 
national control minus discipline. Many of our teachers 
• do not know the distinction between Khaddar and 
foreign or mill-made cloth. They dress like sahebs and 
though themselves dressed in foreign cloth would not mind 
talking to us about Swadeshi, They remind one of drunk- 
ards advising others to give up liquor. They talk of the 
spirit of sacrifice and the value of joining national institu- 
tions when they send their own sons or other relatives to 
“Government-controlled schools or colleges. In fact, there 
■is very little love lost between them and us. Do you 



STUDENTS AND NON-CO-OPERATION 319 

wonder at many students having gone back to Govern- 
ment institutions? A few of us however still remain out. 
But how long can we do so ? I would like to prosecute 
my studies in Germany, but, my pecuniary circumstances 
do not allow me to do so. Can you not send me to 
the Berlin or any other European University ? ” 

The writer has given me his own full name and the name 
of the institution and all other available particulars. I have 
purposely refrained from giving the name or the institution and 
further particulars. For, 1 do not know enough of it and I 
could not be party to the specific condemnation of any institu- 
tion without having studied it. Public purpose is sufficiently 
served by publishing the general complaint so that those insti- 
tutions to which the complaint may be applicable may examine 
themselves and remove all cause of complaint. There is no 
doubt that in several national institutions things have not been 
as they should have been and that the professors or teachers 
have not conformed to the elementary requirements of the 
Congress programme in so far as it is applicable to national 
•institutions. Teachers who themselves do not believe in 
non-violence or truth or non-co-operation, cannot impart 
to their students the spirit of any of these things. If 
they send their children to Government schools, they may not 
expect to enthuse their pupils over national institutions. Nor 
may they expect to infect their pupils with love of the Charkha 
or Khaddar, if they will not spin themselves or wear Khaddar. 
It is hardly qecessary to remark that all national institutions 
do not deserve the description that the writer gives of the 
one to which he has belonged. But, the point I desire to 
emphasise in connection with this letter is that there should be 
no sorrow felt over one^s sacrifice. That sacrifice which causes 
pain loses its sacred character and will break down under 
stress. One gives up things that one considers to be injurious 
and therefore there should be pleasure attendant upon the 
giving up. Whether the substitute is effective or not is 
a different question altogether. If the substitute is effective. 



YOUNG INDIA. 


’3:i0 

it is no doubt well, but, it is well also even if the substitute 
is ineffective. It must lead to an effort to procure a better 
substitute, but surely not to a return to what has been 
given up after full knowledge and experience of its harmful 
character. This hankering after going to Berlin or to some 
other European University is not a sign of the spirit of non-co- 
operation. It is on a par with substituting Japanese cloth for 
the English manufacture. We give up English cloth not because* 
it is English but because it robs the poor of their ’ hereditory 
employment and therefore makes them poorer still. The 
Japanese substitute robs the poor no less than the English cloth.. 
Similarly, we give up Government institutions because of their 
harmful character. We may not, therefore, reproduce the same 
thing under a different name and hug to ourselves the belief that 
we are non-co-operators. Non-co-operation means co-operation 
with all that is best in the Indian spirit. We cannot cultivate 
that taste by being in Berlin. It is in India that all our experi- 
ments must be made. Till at least we arrive* at 
a complete and effective substitute, the first step, it is quite 
plain, must be the giving up of Government institutions- Those 
students, therefore, who took that step did well if they under- 
stood what they were doing. And only the sacrifice of such 
students will be of increasing benefit to the country as time 
passes. But those who are repenting or dissatisfied with their 
own lot should certainly have no hesitation in going back to* 
Government institutions. After all it is a conflict of ideal and 
if the ideal that Non-co-operation stands for his good and is. 
congenial to the Indian soil, it will triumph over every conceiv- 
able obstacle. 



CONGRESS ORGANISATION 


321 


29th May^ 1924 
CONGRESS ORGANISATION 
By M. K. Gandhi 

As I have said in my statement* to the Press on*the question 
of Councils entry, it is not complete without an examination, in 
the light of my views, of the working of the Congress organi- 
sation. The difference between the Swarajists and myself is 
honest and vital. I believe that the frank recognition of honest 
differences will accelerate the countrj^’s progress as a patched 
up compromise designed to hide differences would have retarded 
it. Each party is now free to give the fullest play to its views 
unhampered by any consideration save that of the common 
cause. 

' It is, therefore, necessary to consider the way the Congress 
organisation is to be worked. It is clear to me that it cannot 
be iointly worked just as a government cannot be jointly and 
efficiently carried on by two parties with opposite views. I 
hold the boycott of titles etc. to be an absolutely integral part 
of the Congress programme. The boycott has two objects : 
first, to persuade those who hold titles etc,, to give them up ; 
secondly, to keep the Congress pure from the influence of the 
institutions boycotted. If the first had been immediately success- 
ful, we should have attained our goal at once. But the second is 
equally necessary, if we are ever to reach our goal through the 
programme ot non-violent non-co-operation. Forme the boycott 
is national so long as the National Congress enforces it in its 
own organisation. It cannot undermine the influence, 
the glamour and the prestige of Government institutions, if it 
cannot be run without the presence in it, as administra- 
tors, of title-holders, lawyers, school-masters and councillors 
who represent as it were, the voluntary branch of the 
Government administration. The idea running behind 
the programme of non-co-operation was that if we could 

* Omitted in this collection. 

21 



322 


YOUNG INDIA 


honestly, non-violently and successfully work the Congress 
organisation without such influence, and, nay, even in spite of 
it, that fact by itself would be enough to give us Swaraj. Our 
numerical superiority is so great that an effective boycott 
carried out by the National organisation must make the 
Congress an 'irresistible power. It follows, therefore, that the 
executive organisation of the Congress must not contain titled 
persons. Government school-masters, practising lawyers and 
members of legislative bodies and persons who use foreign 
cloth or cloth manufactured even in our mills, and those who 
deal in such cloth. Such persons can become Congressmen, 
but cannot and should not become members of executive 
organisations. They can become delegates and influence the 
Congress the resolutions, but once the Congress policy is fixed, 
those who do not believe in that policy in my opinion, should 
stand out of the executive bodies. The All India Congress 
Committee an d all the local executive committees are such bodies, 
and they should contain only those members who whole-heart- 
edly believe in and are prepared to carry out the policy. I am 
the author of the introduction into^ the Congress organisation 
of the system of single transferable votes. But experience has 
shown that so far as the executive organisations are concerned 
it cannot work. The idea that all opinions should be represent- 
ed on these bodies must be abandoned if the executive com- 
mittees are to become bodies for the purpose of carrying out 
the Congress policy for the time being. 

One of the most important reasons why we have not been 
wholly successful is that the members of these executive bodies 
have not believed even in the Congress creed. I stand where I 
did when I wrote my impressions of All India Congress Com- 
mittee, which met at Delhi soon after the Bardoli resolutions 
-were passed by the Working Committee. I saw then as clearly 
as possible that many members, if not indeed the majority, did 
not believe in non-violence and truth as an integral part of the 
Congress creed. They would not allow that ‘ peaceful ^ meant 
•^non-violenf and that ‘legitimate’ meant ‘truthful.^ I know that 



CONGRESS ORGA NIS ATION 323 

to-day there is more of the violent and the untruthful spirit in 
us than we had in February 1922. I would, therefore, urge that 
those who do not believe in the five boycotts and non-violence' 
and truthfulness should resign from the Congress executive 
bodies. That is why I have said in my statement on the 
Councils entry that the constructive programme should be 
worked by different parties through their respective organisa- 
tions. The thorough believers, if there are any, m the five 
"boycotts and non-violence and truth, have no organisation other 
than the Congress. The most natural thing in my opinion, 
therefore, is for the Swarajists to work the constructive 
programme through their own organisations. So far as I can 
see, their method of working must be different from that of the 
boycotters. If they are to make the Councils entry successful, 
they must devote the whole of their energy to that purpose, and 
therefore they can help the constructive programme by 
working it mainly through the Councils and the Assembly. 

I for one can be no party to a tug of war in which each 
party tries to capture the Congress executive. That war may 
be fought out if at all necessary without heat and bitterness at 
the forthcoming sessions in December. The Congress is the 
debating and legislative body. The Permanent organisations 
are purely executive bodies to give effect to the resolutions of 
the Congress. I amdn a desperate hurry. I believe implicitly 
in the full and undiluted non-violent non-co-operation pro- 
gramme as passed by the Congress and no other. If I can get 
really non-violent and truthful workers who share my belief in 
the boycotts, in the potency of Khaddar, in Hindu-Muslim 
unity and in removal of untouchability, I would again feel 
Swaraj coming to ps much quicker than most of us think 
possible. But if we wrangle on in the All India Congress 
Committee, we can only discredit and obstruct one another. 
Each party honourably and without jealousy and ill-will work- 
ing separately (because they cannot do otherwise) can help one 
another. 

I trust that all the members of the All India 



324 


YOUNG INDIA 


Congress Committee will attend the forthcoming meet- 
ing. Tf we can discuss the plan of action in a calm 
manner without imputing motives and make the composi- 
tion of the All India Congress Committee homogeneous, we can 
do a tremendous amount of work during the forthcoming six 
months. I would respectfully invite each member to consider 
for himself or herself where he or she is in respect of the pro- 
gramme. If they do not believe in the programme as it is and 
in its capacity unaided to secure Swaraj, and if they really 
voice the feelings of their electors, I would not hesitate to* 
advise the Committee even to take the risk of revising and 
radically altering the programme in anticipation of endorse- 
ment next year. No doubt for such a drastic change there must 
be a clearly made out case, there must be real public opinion 
behind it. Granted these two conditions, I have no doubt that 
in spite of anything to the contrary in the constitution, it is the 
duty of the All India Congress Committee to reverse the Con- 
gress policy at the risk of incurring condemnation and show 
useful and substantial work at the end of the year. Stagnation 
must be avoided at all cost. 

After I had finished the foregoing, it was pointed out to me 
that it was possible that my views might tend to make Swarajists, 
appear weaker than or inferior to the No Changers in the esti- 
mation of the masses. Nothing can be further from my thought 
than any such idea. There is no question of quality. It is purely a 
question of temperamental differences. I have written simply 
with an eye to effective working of the Congress executives. 
That working is possible only if the executives are run only by 
one party. If the Swarajist view is more popular, the executive- 
bodies should be solely in their hands. The Congress must 
always represent the popular view whatever it may be, whether 
good or bad. And it is the duty of those who hold contrary 
views not necessarily weak or inferior, to stand out and work 
on the popular mind from outside. The No-Changers will be 
belying their trust, if they regard Pro-Changers as, in any 
way, inferior to them by reason of their holding different views. 



CONGRESS ORGANISATION 325 

It nas been further pointed out to me that in arguing for 
exclusive control of the executives, I am departing from the 
•spirit, if not the letter, of the Delhi resolution reaffirmed at 
Cocanada. I have read both the resolutions carefully. In my 
opinion the Delhi resolution and more specially the Cocanada 
resolution does not contemplate joint control of the executives. 
The Cocanada resolution is not a mere reaffirmation, but it 
emphasises the principle of nonviolent non-co-operation. But 
«ven if my reading of the resolutions is incorrect, my argument 
remains unimpaired. Mine is only an opinon to be accepted or 
rejected by the members of the A. I. C. C. And it is actuated by 
the sole consideration of expeditious working. I feel that both 
the parties can effectively help each other only if they work 
separately. 


Mahatma Gandhi writes the following note in ‘ Yonng 
India" of 5th June 19 H : 

Digging my own graven — This is the expression that has 
been used about my article on Congress organisation. I like it. 
For nothing will please me more than to dig my own grave than 
that I should dig that of Truth for which and which alone I want 
to live. An esteemed English friend who helped me in South 
Africa once told me, “ Do you know that I have thrown my- 
self heart and soul into your movement because you represent 
a minority. For I believe that truth always lies with minorities. 
You should not therefore be surprised at rny opposing you, 
friends though we are, if I ever find you representing a majori- 
ty.” I have often wondered and never more so^ than now, 
whether the friend was not right and whether he would not have 
come to the conclusion that I must be in the wrong as I am at 
present supposed to be representing a majority. But whether 
the friend was right or wrong, I hope that the A. I. C. C. will 
not hesitate to put me in a minority and I shall also hope that 
I shall not be found untrue to my faith. I assure them that I 



326 


YOUNG INDIA 


shall work as zealously under defeat as perhaps I have worked 
with the tide flowing with me. If we w^nt to serve India we 
must put measures before men. The latter come and go, but 
causes must survive even the greatest of them. 


5th June, 1924 

ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The forthcoming session of the All India Congress Com- 
mittee will decide the future work of the Congress for the ensuing 
six months. Six months for a nation which is in a hurry to get her 
own is along time to lose. ‘ Every moment is precious. The mem- 
bers of the All India Congress Committee are representatives of 
representatives. They are or should be the real executive of 
the nation. They can if they will hasten Swaraj. They must 
be men and women with an unquenchable faith in the national 
programme for the time being. They must enforce it in their 
own lives and induce others to do likewise. Three hundred 
and fifty representatives worMngv^ith one mind cannot but 
produce an instantaneous impression upon the country. 

Let each one of us ask himself or herself : 

1. Do I believe in non-violence and truth for the purpose 
of gaining Swaraj ? 

2. Do I sincerely believe in Hindu-Muslim unity ? 

3. Do I believe in the capacity of the Charkha to solve 
the problem of the economic distress of the starving millions of 
India, and in order to make hand-spun Khaddar universal ; am I 
prepared to spin religiously for half an hour at least per day, 
except when actually travelling continuously for twenty-four 
hours ; And am I prepared to use nothing but hand-spun 
Khaddar ? 

4. Do I believe in the bo5^cott of Government titles, 
government schools, law-courts and councils? 



ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE 327 

5 . If a Hindu, do I believe that untouchability is a blot 
upon Hinduism ? 

6 . Do I believe in the complete abolition of the drink and 
drug evil in spite of the fact that the whole of the revenue will 
be wiped out at a single stroke ? 

In my opinion, no one who does not believe in the foregoing 
articles of the Congress programme should remain in the All 
India Congress Committee. It‘ is necessary to draw attention 
to all the articles because I know that many members do not 
believe in non-violence and truth. I hear too that there are 
practising lawyers in the Congress executives, that there are 
members who do not exclusively and always wear Khaddar 
garments, that there are non-co-operators who are actually on 
the managing committees of national schools and who send 
their own children to government schools, and that, lastly,, 
merchants who trade in foreign or mill-made cloth are still on 
Congress executives. I can only say that it is impossible to 
carry on the Congress programme to a successful issue if we 
who have to work it do not carry it out in our own persons. 
How can a practising lawyer ask or expect his brother to give 
up his practice, or one who does not himself spin demonstrate 
the necessity of others’ spinning ? 

I shall plead before the committee for an honest pro- 
gramme. If the majority have another programme, I would 
advise the minority to resign and attend to the Congress pro- 
gramme from outside the A. I. C. C, There has been too much 
disregard of Congress resolutions and demands from the Work- 
ing Committee. I would therefore also suggest that the 
members should at the end of every month send yarn of their 
own spinning, at least ten tolas of at least ten counts of even and 
well-twisted yarn. This quantity can be easily spun in thirty 
days at the rate of half an hour per day. The yam should 
reach the secretary Khadi Board, not later than the 15 th of each 
month. He who fails to send the requisite quantity should be 
deemed to have resigned. Likewise those who do not send 
returns of hand-carding, hand-spinning, hand-weaving and 



328 


YOUNG INDIA 


band-spua yarn from month to month in their own areas, 
should be deemed to have resigned. The returns should reach 
the secretary every month, not later than the 15th of every 
month. 

I know that these are hard conditions for those who do not 
wish to work and easy for those who do. There is no way of 
working the programme unless the chosen representatives of 
the people, work. 

There has been too much laxity about our method of work. 
It is the time that we became a little less unbusiness-like. The 
charge that the programme is uninspiring or that a ‘nation of 
spinners cannot achieve Swaraj does not frighten me because 
’ I know nothing so inspiring as a programme of solid work and. 
I am convinced that we have to become once again a nation of 
carders, spinners and weavers if we are ever to banish starva- 
tion from the land and become economically independent. 


12th June, 1924 
AN APPROPRIATE QUERRY 
By M. K. Gandhi 

A Correspondent writes : — 

“You have practically called on the Swarajists to resign 
immediately from Congress executives. The presumption 
is that they are in a minority in the country and that the 
majority of Congressmen, if not Indians, are no-changers. 
While it is true that at Gaya there was a clear verdict . by 
the country, there was quite a deal of doubt* regarding the 
composition of the Delhi and Cocanada sessions. The 
atmosphere in the country has been decidedly on the side 
of the no-changers, but was it not due to a feeling of loyalty 
to your personality when you were at Yerawada ? Should 
we not ascertain indisputably that as a free nation (free 
from the obsessipn of sticking to your views simply because 



AN APPROPRIATE QUERRY 


329 


you could not expound your case yourself) we vote for the 
no-changers or rather against the pro-changers ? Whilst 
such a referendum is inadvisable till the Congress meeting 
in December, should it not also be accepted that the 
strengthening of Congress executives in actually carrying 
out the constructive programme should be done voluntarily 
by workers serving under what may be called a mixed jury.” 
I must confess that there is considerable force in the ob- 
jection raised by the writer. I fear it is highly likely that the 
no-changers voted for the original programme out of loyalty to 
me. If that is the case they should now be absolved from the 
awkward predicament. Happily for me I have anticipated my 
•correspondent by suggesting that if the present members of the 
All India Congress Committee do not believe in the Congress 
programme, they should not hesitate to throw me overboard. 
The cause is everything. Those even who are dearest to us must 
be shunted for the sake of the cause. Loyalty to it is para- 
mount to every other consideration. All I plead for is common 
honesty and that in the interest of efficiency. Those who do 
not believe in the whole programme should give place to those 
who do. If all or the majority do not believe in it, they should 
frame a new one, and carry that out. I would not make a fetish 
•even of Congress resolutions. The goal of the Congress is 
.Swaraj. And if last six months’ experience has shown us a 
better method, let us by all means adopt it. We shall be truer 
to the Congress by acting upto our convictions than by pretend- 
ing to follow the Congress resolutions in which we never had 
faith or in which our faith has now suffered a shock. If the six 
months’ experience inclined us to the Swarajist view, we should 
candidly and courageously confess it and unhesitatingly join 
the Swarajists. All I am pleading againt is camouflage and 
make-believe. It will ruin our. cause. If we cannot run Con- 
gress organisations without practising lawyers, .let us by all 
means remove the lawyers’ boycott. And if we do not believe 
in the spinning wheel let us ignore it. No mere lip-loyalty to 
the wheel will give us the yarn we want for, the thirty crores. In 



330 


YOUNG INDIA 


other words let us do what all successful organisations have 
done hitherto ; i, e. to be entrusted to those who most thorough- 
ly believe in them. Orators cannot run an organisation whose 
chief business is to teach and popularise spinning nor can spin- 
ners run a debating assembly where oratory counts for every- 
thing. 

Another appropriate objection has been raised by another 
friend. He says my position would be correct if the A. I. C. C. 
was a purely executive body. But he says it is also a debating 
and practically legislative body in that it frames resolutions 
for the following Congress. How can an executive be elected 
before it knows the laws it is to carry out ? The objection is, in 
my opinion thoroughly sound. But here again I am safe ; for I 
have simply given my opinion as to how the Congress resolu- 
tions can and should be carried out, during ensuing six months. 
No technical difficulty can be allowed to stand in the way of the 
Congress work. And if my view of Congress executives com- 
. mends itself to the Congressmen the difficulty suggested by the 
friend can be easily overcome for the next year by providing 
for re-election of executives after the Congress sessions. My 
opinion, in so far as it has any weight, should be treated purely 
as a guide for members as well as electors. I have been obliged 
to give it because I shall be held largely responsible for carrying 
out the programme. In giving my opinion, I have therefore 
also stated the terms on which my services can be effectively 
employed. 


19th Jiine^ 192^ 

THE ACID TEST 
By M, K. Gandhi 

I propose to move at the forthcoming meeting of the All- 
India Congress Commitee the following four resolutions ; — 

I. In view of the fact that the members of Congress 
organisations throughout the country have themselves. 



THE ACID TEST 


331 


hitheto neglected handspinning, in spite of the fact that the* 
spinning wheel and its product handspun Khacldar have 
been regarded as indispensable for the establishment of 
Swaraj and although their acceptance has been regarded, 
by the Congress as a necessary preliminary to civil 
disobedience, the A. I. C. C. resolves that all the members* 
of the various representative ^Congress organisations shall,, 
except when disabled by sickness or prevented by continuous- 
travelling, regularly spin for at least half an hour every 
day and shall send to the secretary of the All India Khadi 
Board at least ten tolas each of even and well-twisted yarn 
of a count not below ten, so as to reach him not later than 
the 15th day of each month, the first consignment to reach 
the secretary not later than the 15th day of August 1924, 
and thereafter in regular monthly succession. Any member 
failing to send the prescribed quantity by the prescribed’ 
date shall be deemed to have vacated his office and such 
vacancy shall be filled in the usual manner ; provided that 
the member vacating in the manner aforesaid shall not be 
eligible for re-election before the next general election for 
the members of the several organisations. 

2. Inasmuch as complaints have been received that 
provincial secretaries and other members of Congress- 
organisations do not carry out the instructions issued to 
them from time to time by officers duly authorised thereto, 
the A. L C. C. hereby resolves that those in charge of' 
matters referred to them failing to comply with the 
instructions of officers thereto appointed shall be deemed' 
to have vacated their offices and the vacancy shall be filled 
in the usual manner, provided that the member thus 
vacating shall not be elgible for re-election till the next 
election. 

3. In the opinion of the A. L C. C. it is desirable 
that the Congress electors elect to various offices in the 
Congress organisations, only those who in their persons 
carry out to the full the Congress creed and the various* 



332 


YOUNG INDIA 


non-co-operation resolutions of the Congress including the 
five boycotts, namely, of all mill-spun cloth, Government 
law courts, schools, titles and legislative bodies; and the 
A. L C. C. hereby resolves that the members who do not 
believe in and do not in their own persons carry out the 
said boycotts shall vacate their seats and that there should 
be fresh elections in respcet of such seats ; provided that if 
the members vacating so choose they may offer them- 
selves for re-election. 

4. The A. I. C. C regrets the murder of the late 
Mr. Day by the late Gopinath Saba and offers its condo- 
lences to the deceased’s family ; and though deeply sensible 
of the love, however misguided of the country prompting 
the murder, the A. I. C. C. strongly condemns this and all 
such political murders and is emphatically of opinion that 
all such acts are inconsistent with the Congress creed and 
Its resolution of non-violent non-co-operation ; and is of 
opinion that such acts retard the progress towards Swaraj, 
and interfere with the preparations for civil disobedience 
which in the opinion of the A. I. C. C. is capable of evoking 
the purest sacrifice but which can only be offered in a per- 
fectly peaceful atmosphere.. 

At the present moment I seem to be doing the very thing 
I claim to wish to avoid viz., dividing the Congressmen and 
plunging the country into a controversy. I however assure thg 
reader that it will not last long at least so far as I am concerned. 
Everyone will share my anxiety and eagerness to clear the air 
^of uncertainty. Some discussion is inevitable if we are to know 
where we are. I am supposed to work wonders, lead the nation 
to its predestined goal. Fortunately for me I entertain no such 
hallucinations. But I do claim to be a humble soldier. If the 
reader will not laugh at me, I do not mind telling him that I 
^can become also an efficient general on usual terms. I must 
have soldiers who would obey and who have faith in them- 
selves and in their general and who will willingly carry out in- 
istructions. My plan of action is always open and very definite. 



THE ACID TEST 


333 « 


Certain well defined conditions being fulfilled, it guarantees- 
success. But what is a poor general to do when he finds^ 
soldiers who subscribe to his conditions and yet do not carry 
them out in their own persons and, may be, do not even believe 
in them ? The resolutions are designed to test the qualifications 
of the soldiers. 

But let me put it another way. The soldiers are in the 
happy position of being electors of their own general. The 
would-be general must know the conditions of employment. I 
remain where I stood in 1920. Only my faith has increased 
with the years that have gone by. If such is also the case with 
my employers, I am theirs body and soul. I have no faith in 
any other plan. I am therefore not available on any other 
terms, not because I am unwilling but because I am unfit. How 
would it do if in answer to an advertisement for a red-h aired', 
young man of thirty-five measuring six feet six inches, a grey — 
haired old toothless man of fifty-five, broken down in health* 
offered his services ? 

All the four resolutions then constitute my application for 
employment as general and lay down my qualifications and' 
limitations. Here there is no imposition of autocracy, no 
impossible demand. The members if they are true to the 
country and themselves will not spare me if they find me to be 
in the wrong. I hold no man to be indispensable for the welfare 
of the country. Every one of us is debtor to the land of our 
birth and there-through to humanity. Every debtor must be 
dismissed the moment he has ceased to pay. No past services 
however brilliant should be counted in distributing present 
employments.. The country's good may not be sacrificed to 
one man or one hundred men. Rather should he or they be 
sacrificed to the welfare Of the country. I invite the members 
of the A. I. C. C. to approach their task with a determined 
purpose, without bias, without false emotion or sentiment. 
I adjure them not to take me on trust. Nothing need 
be right because I say so. They must decide for themselves 
They must know their own.minds and their capacity. They. 



.334 YOUNG INDIA 

‘Should know by this time that I am a difficult companion and a 
hard task-master. They will now find me harder than before. 

I have seen the argument advanced that Khadi cannot 
bring Swaraj. This is an old argument. If India wants the 
fineries of Europe, whether made in the mills of Manchester or 
Bombay, she must cease to think of Swaraj in the terms of the 
millions of her sons and daughters. If we believe in the message 
-of the wheel, we must spin it ourselves and I promise that it 
will be an inspiring occupation. If we want vSwaraj through 
non-violent means, and therefore through non-violent disobedi- 
■ ence, we must produce a non-violent atmosphere. If instead of 
haranguing crowds we would give spinning demonstrations in 
■their midst, we would have a peaceful atmosphere. If I could 
help it I would gag every member of the Congress organisations, 
.except myself and perhaps Shaukat Ali, till Swaraj is attained 
and put him to the spinning wheel or in charge of a spinning 
.centre. If the silent wheel does not inspire faith and courage 
and hope, let the members say so boldly. 

The second and the third resolutions are complementary 
•of the Erst. 

The fourth resolution tests our belief in the non-violent 
policy. I have read Deshbandhu Das’s statement on the 
^Gopinath Saha resolution. It does not affect what I said last 
week. So long as the Congress retains and believes in its pre- 
isent creed, there is no half-way house to the lesolution drafted 
■by me. 


26th Jane, 1924: 

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ALL -INDIA 
CONGRESS COMMITTEE 

Dear friends, 

We rightly regard the Congress to be the most represent- 
ative of the. nation whether for better or for worse. In my 
.opinion the Congress has an almost perfect constitution 



ALL-INDEA CONGRESS COMMITTEE 335 

-designed to represent the nation to the fullest possible extent. 
But being ourselves imperfect, we have worked it very indifferent- 
ly. Our voters* roll has been reduced practically to nil in 
many parts of India. But in spite of it all an organisation that 
has persisted for forty years and weathered many a storm must 
remain the most powerful in the land. We regard ourselves as 
its chosen representatives. 

The Congress took a resolution in 1920 that was designed 
to attain Swaraj m one year. At the end of that year we were 
within an ace of getting it. But because we failed to get it 
then, we may not now regard it as indefinitely postponed. On 
the contrary we must retain the same attitude of hopefulness 
as before. Above all we must be determined to get Swaraj 
soon, sooner than the chilly atmosphere around us will warrant. 

It is in that spirit that I have framed the resolution for 
submission to you. They have been before the country 
now for a week. I have read some of the criticism directed 
against them. I believe I am open to conviction. But the 
-criticism has not altered it. I have no axes to grind, or the only 
axe I have to grind is that which will enable us to strike at the 
jTOOt of every impediment in our way. 

I believe in Khaddar, I believe in the spinning wheel. It has 
two aspects terrible and benign. 

In its terrible aspect it is calculated to bring about the only 
boycott we need for independent. national existence, viz, that of 
foreign cloth. It alone can kill the demoralising British self- 
interest. Then and then only when that interest is killed shall 
we be in a position to talk to British statesmen on equal terms. 
To-day they are, as we would be in their place, blinded by self- 
interest. 

In its benign aspect it gives a new life and hope to the 
villager. It can fill millions of hungry mouths. It alone can 
bring us in touch and in tune with the villagers. It is the very 
best popular education that is needed for the millions. It is life- 
giving. I would not therefore hesitate to turn the Congress into 
nn exclusively Khaddar-prgducing and Khaddar propaganda 



336 


YOUNG INDIA 


organisation till the attainment of Swaraj, just as I would not 
hesitate, if I believed in the use of arms and giving violent battle 
to England, to make the Congress an organisation exclusively 
devoted to training the nation in the use of arms. To be truly 
national the Congress must devote itself exclusively to that 
which will bring the nation most quickly within reach of Swaraj. 

Because I believe in the potency of Khaddar to give 
Swaraj, I have given it the foremost place in our programme. 
You will not hesitate summarily to reject it, if you do not share 
my belief. But if you believe in Khadder, you will regard the 
requirements I have submitted as a mild minimum. I assure 
you, if I was not afraid of putting an undue strain on you, I 
would not have hesitated to implore you to give four hours per 
day to spinning instead of a paltry half hour. 

In this connection let me confess my distrust of Swarajists. 

I understand that the Khaddar among them is on the wane 
more than among the others. It distressed me to find that 
several Swarajists had said final good bye to Khaddar and that 
the material of which their dress was made was foreign. A 
few have threatened that if I persecute them in the manner 
I am doing, they would give up Khaddar and the charkha 
altogether. I am told that many no-changers are not 
much better. Khaddar with them still remains a ceremo- 
nial dress but for household wear they do not hesitate 
to wear videshi or mill-cloth. The wearing of Khaddar 
to patronise me is worse than useless and the wearing of 
it on ceremonial occasions only is hypocritical. Do ^''ou 
not agree with me that both patronage and hypocrisy should 
be banished from our midst ? If you believe in the potency of 
Khaddar, you will take it up not because T advocate it but 
because it has become part of your life. I note that a certain 
fashion of dress has *been prescribed for the Viceregal social' 
function. Prohibition of Khaddar is but a short step from the 
last. Yet another stage and there will be prohibition in the 
Assembly and Councils,. 

Another vexed question is about the practising lawyers^ 



ALL-INDIA CONG-RESS COMMITTEE 3a? 

It is clear to me that if we caaiiot run the Congress without 
them, we must make the frank confession and remove the 
boycott. I am free to confess that removal of that boycott 
is a natural corollary to that of the councils. If entry into the 
legislative bodies can give, as they do somj relief, so does 
practice in the law courts. We are all aware of the signal 
services that the late Manomohan Ghose rendered to the poor 
by the voluntary assistance rendered by him to them. The 
Government institutions could not have existed, if they had 
nothing attractive about them. Only, this is no new discovery. 
Ours is a struggle consisting of self-sacrifice pure and 
simple. We sacrificed the doubtful, temporary and partial good 
done by these institutions for the lasting good of the whole 
country. Moreover, if there is such a thing as honour among, 
us, does it not behove us to retain the boycott apart from any 
other reason, for the sake of those lawyers who have been dis- 
barred in Tamilnad, Andhra, Karnatak, Maharashtra, and 
elsewhere ? We shall be building traditions of honour only if 
we cherish it even for the least among us. Let the practising 
lawyers beware. No family considerations can be allowed to 
override those of honour. Don't make the mistake of 
supposing that we can gain Swaraj within a short time, even 
though we may be dead to all sense of honour. Unless the 
Congress can at the present moment produce proud, defiant, 
self-respecting, sensitive, selfless and self-sacrificing patriots, 
who would count no cost too great, there is, for this poor 
country of ours for a long time to come, no Swaraj in which 
the poorest can participate. You and I may get a larger share 
in the spoils of exploitation, but I am sure you will refuse to* 
call that Swaraj. 

Need I say anything about the schools ? If we cannot resist 
the temptation of sending our children to the Government 
schools, really, I cannot understand the opposition to the 
system. If the Government schools and law courts and legis- 
latures are good enough to attract us, our opposition is clearly 
to the personnel and not to the system. Non-co-operation was 
22 



338 


YOUNG INDIA. 


conceived for a much nobler purpose. If the wish is merely that 
we rather than Englishmen man the system, I grant that the 
boycotts are not only useless but harmful. The logical outcome 
of the Government policy is to Europeanise India and imme- 
diately we have become Europeanised, our English masters 
will gladly hand over the reins of Government to us. We 
would be welcomed as their willing agents. I can have no 
interest in that deadly process save to put the whole of my 
humble weight against it. My Swaraj is to keep in tact the 
genius of our civilisation. I want to write many new things 
but they must be all written on the Indian slate. I would gladly 
borrow from the West when I can return the * amount with 
decent interest. 

Viewed in the light I have put before you, the five boycotts 
are vital for the Congress. They are vital for Swaraj for the 
masses. 

Such a big question cannot be decided merely by a show of 
hands, it cannot be decided even by argument. It must be 
decided by each one of us by ringing for the still small voice 
within. Each one of us must retire to his closet and ask God 
to give a definite guidance. 

This battle for freedom is no play for you and me. It is 
the most serious thing in our lives. If therefore the pro- 
gramme sketched by me does not commend itself to you, you 
’must summarily reject it, cost what it may. 

Your fellow- worker 
in the service 
of the Motherland, 

M. K. Gandhi. 



DEFEATED AND HUMBLED 


339 


3rd JxOy^ 1924 

DEFEATED AND HUMBLED 
By M. K. Gandhi 

Reporters are rarely able to interest me but one of them 
did succeed the other day in interesting me in him. I therefore 
gave him towards the end of the interview more than he had 
expected. He asked me what I would do if the house was 
■evenly divided. 1 told him in effect that God would send some- 
thing to prevent such a catastrophe. I had no idea that my 
innocent and half-humorous remark was prophetic. 

The proceedings of the A. I. C. C. reminded me of those at 
Delhi just before I was imprisoned. The disillusionment of 
Delhi awaited me at Ahmedabad. 

I had a bare majority always for the four resolutions. 
But it must be regarded by me as a minority. The house 
was fairly evenly divided. The Gopinath Saha resolution 
clinched the issue. The speeches, the result and the scenes I 
witnessed after, was a perfect eye-opener. I undoubtedly regard 
the voting as a triumph for Mr. Das although he was apparent- 
ly defeated by eight votes. That he could find 70 supporters 
cut of 148 who voted had a deep significance for me. It lighted 
the darkness though very dimly as yet. 

Up to the point of the declaration of the poll, I was enjoy- 
ing the whole thing as a huge joke, though I knew all the while 
that it was as serious as it was huge. I now see that my enjoy- 
ment was superficial. It concealed the laceration that was going 
on within. 

After the declaration, the chief actors retired from the 
scene. And the house abandoned itself to levity. Most 
important resolutions were passed with the greatest unconcern. 
There were flashes of humour sandwitched in between these re- 
solutions. Everybody rose on points of order and information. 
The ordeal was enough to try the patience of any chairman 
Maulana Mahomed Ali came through it all unscathed. He kep^ 



340 


YOUNG INDIA. 


his temper fairly. He rightly refused to recognise ‘ points of 
information.’ I must confess that the suitors for fame most 
cheerfully obeyed his summary rulings. Let not the reader con- 
clude that there was at any stage ofthe proceedings the slightest 
insubordination. I have not known many meetings where 
there was so little acrimony or personalities in rhe debate as in 
this, even though feelings ran high and the differences were 
sharp and serious. I have known meetings where under similar 
circumstances the chairmen have found it most difficult to keep 
order. The president of the A. I. C. C. commanded willing; 
obedience. 

All the same, dignity vanished after the Gopinath resolu- 
tion. It was before this house that I had to put my last 
resolution. As the preceedings went on I must have become 
more and more serious. Often I felt like running away from; 
the oppressive scene. I dreaded having to move a resolution in 
my charge. I would have asked for postponement of the resolu- 
tion but for the promise I had made the meeting that I would 
suggest a remedy, or failing that, move a resolution for protect- 
ing litigants from the operation of the third resolution which 
requests resignation from members who do not believe in the 
principle of the five boycotts including that of law courts and 
do not carry them out in their own persons. Protection was. 
intended for those who might be driven to the courts either as. 
plaintiffs or defendants. The resolution that was adopted by 
the Working Committee and previously circulated among 
the members did protect them. It was substituted by 
the one actually passed by the A. I. C. C. As the reader 
knows it exempts from its operation those who might be cover- 
ed by the Cocanada resolution. In drafting that amendment I 
had not protected litigants. I had wished to do so by a 
separate resolution. I had announced the fact at the time of 
introducing the resolution. And it was this promised 
resolution that opened for me a way out of ‘darkness, 
invisible.’ I moved it with the preface that it was in 
redemption qf the mornin romise. I mentioned too Mr. 



DEFEATED AND HUMBLED 341 

♦Gangadhar Rao Deshpande was an instance in point. I do not 
believe in exemptions and as-far-as-possibles. But I know 
that some of the strongest non-co-operators have found it diffi- 
cult to avoid law courts. Unscrupulous debtors have refused 
payment to non-co-operators because of their knowledge 
that the latter could not sue them. Similarly I know 
men who have brought suits against non-co-operators 
because they would not defend themselves. The curious 
will be agreeably surprised to discover, if they searched 
among the rank and file, the numerous cases in which non-co- 
‘Operaters have preferred to suffer losses to defending 
themselves or suing. Nevertheless it is perfectly true that 
representatives have not always been able to keep to the 
prohibition. The practice, therefore, has been to wink at 
ffiling suits and more often at defending them. The Committee 
has from time to time also passed rules legalising the 
practice to a certain extent. I thought that now when the 
A. I. C. C. was adopting a rigid attitude regarding the 
observance of the boycotts, the position of litigants should 
be clearly defined. Nothing would please me better than 
tfor the Congress to have only those representatives on its 
executive who would carry out all the boycotts to the full. 
But the exact fulfilment at the present stage of the boycott 
of law courts on the part of many is almost an impossibility. 
Voluntary acceptance of poverty is essential for the 
purpose. It must take some time before we can 
Jiope to man the Congress organisations with such 
men and women, and run them efficiently. Recognising 
the hard fact I was prepared to incur the odium of having 
to move the said resolution of exemption. Hardly had I 
finished reading it, up sprang the brave Harisarvottania 
Rao to his feet and in a vigorous and cogent speech opposed it. 
He said it was his painful duty to oppose me. I told him the 
pain was mine in that I had to move a resolution I could not 
^defend. His must be the pleasure of opposing an indefensible 
^resolution and of keeping the Congress organisation pure at 



342 


YOUNG INDIA 


any cost. I liked this opposition and was looking forward to 
the voting. But the opposer was followed by Swami Govind- 
ananda who raised the technical objection that no resolution 
designed to affect one previously passed could be moved at the 
same session of the Committee. The chairman properly 
rejected the objection, if only because the previous day 
the very first resolution was amended after it was passed by 
a majority. But the last straw was unwittingly supplied by Dr. 
Choithram. I have known him to be a 'responsible man. A 
long period of unbroken service lies to his credit. He has 
embraced poverty for the sake of his country. I was not 
prepared for a constitutional objection from him in a matter in 
which the Committee had on previous occasions softened the 
effect of the boycott resolution. But he thoughtlessly asked 
whether my resolution was not in breach of the Congress 
resolution on boycotts. Maulana Mahomed Ali asked me 
whether the objection was not just. I said of course it was. 
He therefore felt bound to hold my resolution unconstitutional. 
Then I sank within me. There was nothing, absolutely 
nothing, wrong about anybody's speech or behaviour. All 
were brief in their remarks. They were equally courteous. 
And what is more they were seemingly in the right. And 
yet it was all hopelessly unreal. The objections were like 
reading a sermon on the virtue of self-restraint to a hungry man 
reduced to a skeleton. Each of the actors acted involuntarily,, 
unconsciously. I felt that God was speaking to me through them 
and seemed to say “Thou fool knowest not thou that thou art 
impossible? Thy time is up.' Gangadhar Rao asked me whether 
he should not resign. I agreed with him that he should do so at 
once. And he promptly tendered his resignation. The president 
read it to the meeting. It was accepted almost unanimously. 
Gangadhar Rao was the gainer. 

Shaukat Ali was sitting right opposite at a distance of 
perhaps six yards. His presence restrained me from fleeing. 
I kept asking myself, * Could right ever come out of wrong ?‘ 
Was I not co-operating with evil r Shaukat Ali seemed to say 



DEFEATED AND HUMBLED 


345 


to me through his big eyes, ‘There is nothing wrong, for all 
will be right.’ I was struggling to free myself from the 
enchantment. I could not. « 

The President asked, 'Shall I now dissolve the meeting V 
1 said, ‘Certainly.’ But Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who was 
evidently watching whatever changes my face was undergoing 
was all eyes. He quickly came up and said, ‘We cannot dis- 
perse without the message you have promised.’ I replied, 
Maulana Saheb it is true I wanted to say something about the 
fulture plans. But what I have been witnessing for the last hour 
after the Gopinath resolution, has grieved me. I do not know 
where I stand now and what I should do,’ ‘ Then ’ he said 
‘ say even if it is only that. ’ I complied and in a short 
speech in Hindustani laid bare my heart and let them see 
the blood oozing out of it. It takes much to make me 
weep. I try to suppress tears even when there is occasion 
for them. But in spite of all my efforts to be brave, I 
broke down utterly. The audience was visibly affected. I 
took them through the various stages I had passed and 
told them that it was Shaukat Ali who stood in the way 
of my flight. For I regarded him as trustee for Hindu honour 
as I was proud enough to regard myself as such for Mussulman 
honour. And then I told them that I was unable to say how I 
would shape my future course. I would consult him and other 
workers who were closely associated with me. It was the sad- 
dest speech I had ever made. I finished and turned round to 
look for Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He had stolen away from 
me and was standing at the farthest end opposite to me. I told 
him I would now like to go. He said ‘Not yet for a while. For 
we must speak too.’ And he invited the audience to speak. 
Those who spoke did so with^ a sob. The sight of the 
hoary-headed Sikh friend who was choked as he was speak- 
ing touched me deep. Of course Shaukat Ali spoke and 
others. All begged pardon and assured me of their unwavering 
support. Mahomed Ali broke down twice. I tried to soothe 
him. 



344 


YOUNG INDIA 


I had nothing to' forgive for none had done any wrong to 
me. On the contrary they had all been personally kind to me. 
I was sad because we were weighed in the scales of our own 
making — the Congress creed — and found wanting; we were such 
poor representatives of the nation! I seemed to be hopelessly 
-out of place. My grief consisted in the doubt about my own 
ability to lead those who would not follow. 

I saw that I was utterly defeated and humbled. But 
defeat cannot dishearten me. It can only chasten me. My 
faith in my creed stands immovable. I know that God 
will guide me. Truth is superior to man’s wisdom. 


[The foregoing was written on Monday the 30th June. I 
wrote it but I was not satisfied nor am I satisfied now with 
the performance. On reading it I feel I have not done justice 
to the meeting or myself. Great as the informal meeting was 
the one that preceded it and that stung me to the quick, was not 
less great. I do not know that I have made it clear that no 
speaker had any malice in him. What preyed upon my mind 
was the fact of unconscious irresponsibility and disregard of the 
Congress creed or policy of non-violence. 

The informal meeting was a heart-searcher. It purified 
the atmosphere. The whole of Tuesday I passed in discuss- 
ing with co-workers my position. * My innermost wish was and 
still is to retire from the Congress and confine my activity 
merely to Hindu-Muslim Unity, Khaddar and Un touch ability. 
They would not listen. I had no right, they said, to retire at a 
critical period in the history of the nation. My withdrawal would 
not smooth matters. It would cause depression and remove 
from Congress meetings an active restraining influence. I must 
actively work the programme, of which I was the author^ so 
long as the majority favoured it. The programme had a far 
greater majority than the voting at the A. 1 . C. C. would 
indicate. I must travel in the country and see things for 
myself. My second proposal was for all who fully accepted the 
Congress creed to retire in favour of the Swarajists. As 



DEFEATED AND HUMBLED 345 

the argument against it developed I rejected it myself as 
thoughtless. It was the last thing the Swarajists wanted. 
I felt that it would be doing violence to them to expect 
them to do the impossible. I know that they would not 
entertain even the first proposal. I oftered it to them at 
Juhu and renewed it in Ahmedabad. I have therefore 
reluctantly decided to drink the bitter cup and continue 
to be in the Congress organisation and shoulder the 
.responsibility for working it until the Congress puts me in an 
actual numerical minority. 

I may not choose short cuts. I must plod. I must pocket 
my pride and wait till I am driven out. 

I must seemingly become a party-man and show that I can 
‘Still work as a no-party man. I must strive for a majority at the 
next Congress and endeavour, so far as it is possible to act 
impartially. It is not beyond the capacity of a Satyagrahi. 

The conditions are incredibly simple. The striving to be 
in a majority consists in solid work. 

1. Over and above the spinning for half an hour every 
spare minute should be given to it. 

2. Extra spinning can be dispensed with in order to do 
Khaddar propaganda. 

3. We may swell the electoral roll by getting as many 
'Congress members as possible. 

4. There should be no manipulation of papers. 

5. There should be no manoeuvring for securing votes. 

‘6. There should be no criticism of the opposite party, as 

'distingiushed from policy. 

7. There should be no undue pressure exercised on the 
voters. 

Both the parties are said to have resorted in the past to 
unscrupulous practices in the matter of election of delegates 
.and members of the subordinate organisations. The best way 
of avoiding corruption is to be indifferent to the result after 
iraving adopted all honest measures for influencing voters. 

The no-change programme must be what it means. The 



346 


YOUNG INDIA 


proceedings of the Committee have but confirmed the view that 
the two methods cannot be worked in the same organisation. 
The Swarajist method cultivates British opinion and looks to 
the British Parliament for Swaraj. The no-change method lookS' 
to the people for it. The two methods represent two opposite 
mentalities. This is not to say that one is wrong if the other 
is right. Each may be right in its own place. But for one 
organisation to work both is to weaken both and therefore tO' 
.damage the national cause. Whilst one school claims to give 
political education through the Councils, the other claims to give 
it exclusively by working among the people and evoking its 
organising and administrative capacity. One teaches to look 
up to a government for popular progress, the other tries to 
show that even the most ideal government plays among a self- 
governing people the least important part in national growth. 
One teaches the people that the constructive programme alone 
cannot achieve Swaraj, the other teaches the people that it and 
it alone can achieve it. 

Unfortunately I was unable to convince the Swarajists of 
this obvious truth. And I saw constitutional difficulty in the 
way of securing a homogeneous organisation. We must now 
therefore do the next best thing. We must silently work up 
the constructive programme without regard to what will happen 
in December, in the full belief that whether the Congress, 
rejects or accepts the programme, for us there is no other. I 
would ask those newspapers that call themselves no-change 
papers not to criticise the Swarajists in any shape or form. I 
am convinced that newspapers play a very small part in shaping 
the policy or programme of the masses. They do not know 
newspapers. The no-changers have to reach and represent 
those who have had no political education whatsoever. M.K.G.], 



THE ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE 347' 


3rd July, 1924 

THE ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE 
By M. K. Gandhi 

All the resolutions of the All India Congress Committee 
will be found printed elsewhere.* The first resolution is bereft 
of the penalty clause. It was my first defeat in a series. Majori- 
ties cannot deceive me. It was impossible for me to be satisfied 
with a bare majority when I knew that if the Swarajist with- 
drawals were to be taken into account the defeat was a certainty. 
I therefore urged the meeting to take into account the with-' 
drawals and remove the penalty clause from the resolution. 

The second resolution is not the same as the original 
draft, but in substance it is the same. The principle of 
disciplinary action is retained. 

The third resolution constitutes real failure. I still feel that 
the elective organisations of the Congress are executive and. 
that therefore they should contain only those who heartily sup- 
port the Congress Programme for the time being and who are 
prepared not to obstruct or tone it down, but to carry it out in 
its entirety. But it was not possible to get over the constitu- 
tional difficulty. Any restriction upon the Cocan ada programme 
must be considered a breach of the Congress constitution. 
Putting the interpretation that I do even now, the original 
resolution was not a breach. But it was pointed out to me that 
I have no right to put my own interpretation upon it and that 
the Swarajists had the right to contend that those who entered 
the Councils were not debarred from being on the executives. 
They said that as a matter of fact there were Swarajists on the 
working Committee already. The argument had great weight 
with me, and in view of the knowledge that the original resolu- 
tion disqualifying the Swarajists from being on the executives- 
could only be passed by a narrow majority, was decisive in re- 
conciling me to the resolution as finally adopted. It does not 
please me. But it was the only possible course left save that 

* See page 350. 



'348 


YOUNG INDIA 


*of dropping the whole proposition. That was required for the 
sake of keeping before the country the idea of having a 
homogeneous organisation and of insisting on purity of politi- 
cal conduct. Representatives must be expected to conform to 
the standards they lay down for others. It must be pointed out 
in a variety of ways that the Congress is no longer a begging 
association but that it is primarily a self-purification associa- 
tion designed to achieve its goal by developing internal strength. 
Public opinion must therefore be created in favour of the things 
needed for the national life. The best way of creating it is to 
frame propositions and enlisting support therefor. Whilst 
therefore I have reconciled myself to the possibility of tempor- 
ary heterogeneity I would strongly plead with both the parties 
not to obstruct each other’s path. 

The fourth resolution however completed my defeat. It is 
'true that the Gopinath resolution was carried by a bare 
majority. A clear minority would have pleased me 
more than a narrow majority. I do not forget the 
fact that many who voted for Mr. Das’s amendment did 
so because of the rumour of impending arrests. Many 
naturally felt it a point of honour to protect a valued 
•chief and comrade who had rendered signal services to the 
.country and who had performed great self-sacrifice. Senti- 
ment often outweighs moral considerations and I have no 
-doubt that the Bengal Government will make a serious blunder 
if they arrest Mr. Das and his supporters. It is too late in the 
day to punish opinions. If there was no moral consideration 
against supporting Mr. Das’s amendment, I would have had no 
hesitation whatsoever in myself tendering my support. But I 
could not, no Congressman could. Mr. Das sees no difference 
between my resolution and his. I can only call it self-decep- 
tion. Those who spoke in support of his proposition did not 
mince matters. They had room for political murder in their 
philosophy and after all is it not the common philosophy? 
The majority of the so-called civilised people believe in and act 
.upon it on due occasions. They hold that for a disorganised 



THE ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE 349'*- 


and oppressed people political assassination is the only remedy. 
That it is a false philosophy, that it has failed to make the 
world better to live in, is only too true. I merely state that if 
Mr. Das and his supporters have erred, they have the bulk of 
‘ civilised ’ opinion on their side. The foreign masters of India 
have no better record to show. If the Congress was a political 
organisation with no limitation as to means it would be impos- 
sible to object to Mr. Das’s amendment on merits. It would 
then be reduced to a question of expedience.. 

But that there were seventy Congress representatives to 
support the resolution was a staggering revelation. They have 
proved untrue to their creed. In my opinion the amendment 
was in breach of the Congress creed or policy of non-violence.. 
But I purposely refrained from raising such an objection. If 
the members wanted the resolution it was well for them to have 
it. It is always best in my opinion to let constitutional ques- 
tions be decided as a rule by members. 

The other resolutions do not require any discussion. 

The resolution extolling the Sikh sacrifice and bravery was 
in continuation of the traditional polic 3 ’’ of the Congress. 

The opium resolution became necessary for two reasons. 
Miss La Motte, who has been . doing most valuable work in try- 
ing to reduce the world’s growth of opium to its bare medical 
necessity, has pointed out in tragic terms the immoral opium 
policy of the Government of India. Mr. Andrews has shown 
how the Government of India made itself responsible for chang- 
ing at the Opium Convention the word “ medical ” to “ legiti- 
mate ” in describing people's requirements. It therefore 
became necessary in view of the approaching convention at 
Geneva for the A. 1. C. C. to say what the nation thinks of the 
Government of India policy. It had become equally necessary 
to investigate the condition of the Assamese under the. opium 
habit. A fine body of men and women are undergoing a. process 
of decay under the cursed opium habit. The Assam Provincial 
Congress Committee is ready to inquire into the matter. The 
A. 1. C. C. has therefore thought it desirable to appoint Mr. . 



:350 YOUNG INDIA 

. Andrews to conduct the inquiry in co-operation with the Provin- 
r cial Committee. 

The seventh resolution authorises the Working Committee 
to appoint if necessary a deputation to inquire into the condition 
. of Indian labourers of the Malay Peninsula and Ceylon. We 
know nothing of the condition of the labourers who emigrate to 
‘ Ceylon and the Malay Peninsula except from the stray reports 
" that appear in the press. It is our duty to study their condition 
. and do whatever we can to ameliorate it. 

RESOLUTIONS 
I Handspinning 

1. In view of the fact that the members of Congress 
. organisations throughout the country have themselves hitherto 

neglected handspinning, in spite of the fact that the spinning 
wheel and its product handspun Khaddar have been regarded 
as indispensable for the establishment of Swaraj and although 
their acceptance has been regarded by the Congress as a necessary 
preliminary to civil disobedience, the A. I. C. C. resolves that 
members of all elected Congress organisations shall, except 
when disabled by sickness, or prevented by continuous travelling 
. or other similar cause regularly spin for at least half an hour 
every day and shall each send to the Secretary of All India 
Khadi Board or to any person appointed by him in this behalf 
at least 2,000 yards of even and well-twisted yarn of their own 
spinning so as to reach him not later than the 15th day of 
August 1924, and thereafter in regular monthly succession. 
Any member failing to send ithe prescribed quantity by the 
prescribed date shall, unless unavoidably prevented, be .deemed 
to have vacated his office and such vacancy shall be filled in the 
usual manner; provided that the member vacating in the 
manner aforesaid shall not be eligible for re-election before 
the next general election for the members of the several 
^ organisations. 

2, In view of the fact that certain members whilst the 
proceedings of the coramitee were going on, deemed it necessary 

: to withdraw from the committee, by reason of their resentment 



THE ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE 351 

‘Of the penalty clause in the obligatory spinning resolution, 
.and in view of the fact that the penalty clause of the resolution 
was carried only by 67 against 37 votes and further in view of 
the fact that the said penalty clause would have been defeated 
if the votes of the withdrawals had been given against, this 
committee considers it proper and advisable to remove the 
penalty clause from the resolution and to reaffirm the said 
resolution without the said penalty clause. 

II Defaulters 

Inasmuch as it has been brought to the notice of the 
■committee that instructions issued from time to time by offices 
and organisations duly authorised thereto have sometimes not 
.been carried out properly, it is resolved that such disciplinary 
action, including dismissal, as may be deemed advisable by 
respective executive committee of the P. C. C.’s of the provinces 
in which the failure has occurred shall be taken against the 
persons about whom complaint may be made and in the cases 
•of complaints by or on behalf of the central organisation such 
■disciplinary action as may be taken by the Provincial Executive 
Committee shall be reported to the complaining organisations. 
In the case of default by the whole organisations the disciplinary 
action shall be taken by the superior organisation. 

Ill Request to Representatives 

The A. I. C. C. draws the attention of the Congress 
voters to the fact that the five boycotts viz. of all foreign 
cloth, Government law-courts, educational institutions, titles 
and legislative bodies except in so far as the boycott of 
legislative bodies may be affected by the Cocan ada resolution 
and the propaganda for the exclusive use of Khaddar are 
still part of the Congress programme, and therefore considers 
it desirable that those Congress voters who believe in the 
Congress programme do* not elect to the various organisations 
subordinate to the Congress those who do not believe in the 
principle of and carry out in their own persons the said five 



YOUNG INDIA 


352 

boycotts except where, affected by the said Cocanada resolution, 
and do not exclusively use hand-spun Khaddar and the- 
A.I. C. C. therefore requests such persons who are now 
members of Congress elective organisations to resign their 
places. 

IV Condemnation of Murderfs 

The A. I. C. C, regrets the murder of Ernest Day by 
Gopinath Saha and oifers its condolences to the deceased’s^ 
family; and though deeply sensible of the love, however 
misguided, of the country prompting the murder, the 
A. 1. C. C. strongly condemns this and all political murders, 
and is emphatically of opinion that all such acts are inconsistent 
with the non-violent policy of the Congress; and is of opinion 
that such acts retard the progress towards Swaraj, and inter- 
fere with the preparations for civil disobedience which m the 
opinion of the A. 1. C. C. is capable of evoking the purest 
sacrifice but which can only be offered in a perfectly peaceful 
atmosphere. 


V Appreciation of Sikhs 

The A. L C. C. places on record its appreciation of the- 
amazing self-sacrifice undergone by the Sikhs in the prosecution 
of the defence of their religious rights and congratulates them 
specially on the bravery and cool courage exhibited by tfiem at 
the time of the unnecessary, uncalled for and cruel firing at 
Jaito. 

VI Opium l oliay 

In the opinion of the A. L C. C the opium policy of the 
Government of India is altogether contrary to the moral welfare 
of the people of India and other countries. The A. I. C. C. is. 
further of opinion that the people of India would welcome the 
total abolition of the opium traffic for purposes of revenue and 
is also of opinion that the production of opium is out of all 
proportion to the medical requirements of India. 



QUICK RESPONSE 


353 


The A. I. C. C. hereby appoints Mr. C. F. Andrews to 
conduct an enquiry in connection with the Assam Provincial 
Congress Committee into the opium habits of the people of 
Assam and the effect upon them of the opium policy of the 
Government and for this purpose authorises the Working 
Committee to make the necessary arrangements. 

VII Indians Over-spas 

After reading the report of Messrs Andrews and Chatur- 
vedi on emigration from India for labour purposes, the A. 
I. C. C. hereby authorises the Working Committee to send if 
necessary the deputation suggested in the report to the Malay 
Peninsula and Ceylon and invite the co-operation of other 
organisations of the deputation. 


8rd July^ 1924 
QUICK RESPONSE 
By LI. K. Gakdhi 

Immediately on the resolution requesting members who did 
not carry out the boycotts in their own persons to resign, 
being carried at the A. I. C. C. meeting, Mr. Kalidas Jhaveri- 
who is a practising lawyer handed in his resignation as member 
of various committees. He was elected with the full knowledge 
of the voters that he had resumed practice. I congratulate 
Mr. Kalidas Jhaveri on the quick response to the committee's 
invitation. He is a good worker. Let us hope that his services 
will not be lost to the Congress because he has resigned office. 
Every one who either may not see eye to eye with the Congress 
in all its programme, or because of weakness or circumstances 
over which he may have no control and therefore cannot have a 
place in the executive organisation, can still work as effectively 
as if he was in the executive. There is for instance nothing to- 
prevent Mr. Jhaveri from enlisting members, spinning, carrying 

as 



354 


YOUNG INDIA 


on Khaddar propaganda, collecting subscriptions etc. Indeed a 
sincere worker prefers work to responsibility of office and by 
not being on the executive escapes the terrible wranglings that 
take place therein. 

When the A. 1. C. C. rejected the resolution exempting 
litigants, Mr. Gangadhar Rao Deshpande immediately tendered 
his resignation which was accepted as soon as tendered. Mr. 
Deshpande happened to be the General Secretary of the 
Congress. Ke is also the chairman of the Karnatak Provincial 
Congress Committee. It will be interesting to learn how the 
difficulty in Karnatak is to be overcome, seeing that Mr, 
Deshpande is the moving spirit. Pie is organising the Congress 
work. 

Mr. Gangadhar Rao’s case is a very big experiment. If 
he is able to guide the people under his influence without 
occupying any office, he will have set an example for all of us 
to copy. It is necessary for us to bring into being workers 
who would want no office and yet would render as effective 
service as the strongest official. Such men and women are the 
pride of a nation. They are its reserve force. 

There is yet another reflection that arises from the 
interesting situation. Why should all of us possess property ? 
Why should not we after a certain time dispossess ourselves of 
all property ? Unscrupulous merchants do this for dishonest 
purposes. Why may we not do it for a moral and a great 
purpose. For a Hindu it was the usual thing at a certain 
stage. Every good Hindu is expected after having lived the 
household life for a certain period to enter upon a life of 
non-possession of property. Why may we not revive the noble 
tradition ? In effect it merely amounts to this that for main- 
tenance we place ourselves at the mercy of those to whom we 
transfer our property. To me the idea is attractive. In the 
innumerable cases of such honourable trust there is hardly one 
case in a million of abuse of trust. Of course, there are moral 
considerations arising out of such transactions. Take the 
instance of father and son. If the son is as good a non- 



COUNCILS ENTRY 


355 


co-operator as the father why should the father tempt his son by 
burdening him with ownership of property ? Such considerations 
will always arise and the moral worth of a person is tested by his 
abilit3'' in delicately balancing cross problems of ethics. How such 
a practice can be worked without giving a handle to dishonest 
persons can only be determined after long experimenting. No 
one however need be deterred from trying the experiment for 
fear of the example being abused. The divine author of the 
Gita was not deterred from delivering the message of the ‘ Song 
Celestiar although he probably knew that it would be tortured 
to justify every variety of vice including murder. 


The following notes by M, K. Gandhi appeared in 
Young India' of 10th July, 1924. 

COUNCILS ENTRY 
By M. K. Gandhi 

After the closing of the session of the A. I. C. C. Pandit 
Motilalji went to Rajkot for a domestic visit and halted at 
Ahmedabad on his way to Bombay. We met during the halt. In 
the course of our discussion I happened to say that it would be 
disastrous if the Swarajists retired from the councils at this 
stage. He immediately reminded me of my previous writing 
that if I could convince the Swarajists I would ask them to 
withdraw. I said I saw no contradiction between the two. The 
one statement is permanent and based upon principle, the other 
is applicable to the immediate present only and is based on ex- 
pedience. There is no doubt that the Swarajists have created 
a stir in the Government circles. There is no doubt too that any 
withdrawal at the present moment will be misunderstood as a 
rout and weakness. As a matter of fact, so far as the A. I. C. C. 
is concerned, the Swarajist position has been never so strong 
as it is now. They are entitled to claim a moral victory. Believing 
as they do in giving battle to the Government in the Assembly 



356 


YOUNG INDIA 


and the councils, they have no reason whatsoever for with- 
drawing from the legislative bodies at the present moment. 
Their withdrawal at this juncture can only add to the present 
depression in the country and strengthen the hands of a govern- 
ment which wants to give nothing to justice and which yields, 
gracclessly and reluctantly to pressure. 

The only opportune time for the Swarajists to come out 
will be when we the whole-hoggers have become active workers 
of our own programme, which vre consider to be the only one 
that can bring us Swaraj, and shown progressive success, or 
when the Swarajists are by bitter experience convinced that the 
councils can only give condiments but no bread, and that 
therefore they should give their whole time and attention to the 
constructive programme. 

The key to the situation lies in the hands of us ‘whole- 
hoggers.’ We claim that the masses are behind us. I at least 
feel so. II they are, we must show it by results— not by merely 
securing a majority at the Congress but by showing substantial 
work. All the No-changers in all the provinces cannot show 
adequate results. The fault is probably not theirs. We like the 
programme, but we have not evolved the capacity for working 
it. But if that be the true diagnosis, we must now work, for 
work not words will give us the capacity. Then and not till 
then, when we have shown substantial results, will the 
Swarajists of their own accord come away from the councils. 

There is, in my opinion, no room for a centre party. A 
centre party is a party of vacillation. It floats with the 
tide, whereas the time has come for us all to decide one 
way or the other. Those who believe in the councils must re- 
main in or being out enter them or organise work for them. It 
will be disastrous for them and for the country if, in spite of 
their belief in the councils, they retired from them for fear of 
public opinion. No one who wants Swaraj can dare idle away 
his or her time. 



MY POSITIOxNT 


357 


MY POSITION 

I would like to retain 1113?- hold on the Congress not by 
a fictitious or manufactured majority — not merely because my 
withdrav^al is likely to create disorganisation and depression. 
Even that must be faced if I cannot make my programme 
.acceptable. Enervation is bound to be followed by rejuvenation. 
The Congress had become a reality in 1920 — 21. There is fear 
of its becoming an unreality worse than before 1920. In 1920 
there was no organised dishonesty. Then there was no limita 
tion of delegates, no obligation upon Congressmen to do any 
continuous work and no purse. Now we have limitation to the 
number of delegates, resolutions are almost all addressed to 
them and we have even now a purse such as the Congress 
never possessed at any time before 1920. 

The natural result must therefore be dishonesty if we are 
not incessantly watchful. Swarajists tell me that the No-chan- 
gers have dishonestly worked the constitution and the latter 
pay the same compliment to the former. I do not know the 
truth. But I do know that it bodes ill for Swaraj, if we cannot 
or do not work the Congriess constitution with the utmost 
honesty. 

I would like the Congress to become progressively popular. 
I would therefore man it with mercantile, artisan and agricultu- 
ral classes. I would therefore also keep all the boycotts intact 
and have on the executive only those who fully carry them out 
in their own persons. Those who cannot but still believe in 
them can help those who do carry them out but who are 
inexperienced in the management of institutions or who are not 
known to the public as workers. It should be the privilege of 
educated classes to be behind and push into public life those 
who have hitherto kept aloof. 

In an organisation thus conceived, privileged classes have 
no place on the executive. They can all be in the annual 
deliberative assembly. Pandit Motilalji suggests a small 
standing deliberative assembly. I should not mind it. It would 



358 


YOUNG INDIA 


perhaps be an advantage to have such a body with all the 
powers of the Congress. There is no doubt that the constitution, 
requires some drastic changes. We must secure efficiency and 
swiftness. And these cannot be secured even under a perfect 
constitution, if we who have to work it are not honest or do not 
want efficiency and swiftness. 


10th July, IQ 24 
RULES TO BE OBSERVED 

The All India Khadi Board has passed the following 
resolutions. 

“ J. Every member of the A. I. C. C, every member of the 
general body of the Provincial Congress Committees and of 
District, Sub-divisional and Taluka committees, and every 
member of the executive committee of primary Sabhas are 
bound by the A. I. C. C. resolution about spinning to send to 
the All India Khadi Secretary at least 2000 yards of yarn on 
the 15th of every month beginning from 15th August next. 

2. Provincial Khadi Board Secretaries are requested with 
the assistance of the Secretaries of the Provincial Congress 
committees to prepare registers of all members bound by the 
resolution serially numbered and take steps to inform them of 
the duties imposed therein. 

3. The register should be made in folio size with 3 names 
to a page and leaving enough blank space under each name 
for making entries month after month. If the register cannot 
be made up in one volume, more books than one may be used. 
There should be sufficient number of blank pages at the end for 
entering names of new members elected to vacancies. An 
alphabetical index should be appended. 

4. Each Provincial Khadi Secretary will collect the yarn 
received and despatch them in one consignment every month to 
the All India Khadi Board. Every member’s yarn however 



BARA. BAZAR CONGRESSMEN 


359 


should be in a distinct packet labelled and described outside 
though the packets are sent in one parcel to the All India 
Khadi Board’s office. 

5. Where there are no Provincial Khadi Secretaries, the 
Provincial Congress Secretary is requested to do the needful as 
above. 

6. Members are requested to note that all yarn should 
be; — (a) of the member’s own spinning, (b) even and well twist- 
ed, (c) properly hanked in one uniform size ; the hanks should 
be as far as possible of standard size, four feet long each wind- 
ing. (d) with ends properly tied, (e) with the name of the mem- 
ber and his serial number and the length of the yarn and date 
shown by a label attached to the yarn. 

7. Provincial Khadi Secretaries will enter in their registers 
the date of receipt of yarn every month and note defaults. 

8. All defaulters' names should be reported in the last 
week of every month. ” 


17th July, 1924 

BARA BAZAR CONGRESSMEN 
By M. K. Gandhi 

When I read the account of disturbances ending in assault 
between Congressmen in Bara Bazar, Calcutta, I was disinclin- 
ed to believe it. But three letters received by me from 
Congressmen who were most of them eye-witnesses show that 
there was a free fight at the meeting and all this for the sake not 
of attaining the object of the Congress but for the sake of captur- 
ing the committee. All the three letters are from professed no- 
changers. The letters do not enable one to fix the guilt on any one 
party. I have no doubt that a Swarajist account would entirely 
blame the no-changers. What puzzles me is that any party should 
resort to violence for the sake of capturing an organisation which 
is claimed to be nonviolent. The writers of the letters say that 
they are *my followers.’ If by calling themselves ‘my followers 



360 


YOUNG INDIA. 


they claim to be votaries of non-violence, they must avoid every 
occasion for conflict. They must therefore cease to take part 
in an armed fight for capturing the Congress or any of its 
committees. My correspondents tell me that although no- 
changers are in a decided majority in Bara Bazar, the Swarajists 
are likely to pack their meetings or break up no-ch angers '--meet- 
ings and thus control the Congress organisation. Supposing 
that all these charges are true, surely the no-changers have a 
non-violent remedy open to them. They must simply cease to 
attend Swarajist meetings and form their own organisation for 
working their programme, if it is the programme they want to 
work and not the Congress they want to capture. I promise 
that the no-changers will, if they work, make themselves indis- 
pensable to the Swarajists. There is but one God, one goal, 
one means. There is unity in disease, therefore there is unity 
in remedy. Whether it is the Government or the Swarajists, 
there is only one sovgreign remedy, namely non-violent non- 
co-operation. 'My followers’ will therefore do well to set up 
their own organisation of work and no talk. They must cut their 
way to the nations heart through service. I have addressed my 
argument to the no-changers because they are the protesting 
party and they write as ' my followers ’ I neither believe nor dis- 
believe their charges against Swarajist. I claim the latter too 
to be ‘my followers’ since they claim equally with no-changers 
to be the votaries of the Congress creed. If they assert, 
as I have no doubt they will assert that they were not 
in the wrong, I would suggest to them the same remedy 
as I have to the ‘no-change followers’ of mine. ‘ My followers’ 
wait for no response from the opposite party for they do not 
retaliate. Those that do not, expect no return. They are there- 
fore never hurt. To put in the most concrete manner possible, 
no one who wants to spin, or do what lies in him to promote 
Hindu-Muslim unity, or," if a Hindu, to remove untouchability, 
requires any organisation. Organisations may want him and he 
will gladly give his service wherever he is wanted. A Swarajist 
friend tells me that in Maharashtra no-changers have and 



AN APPEL TO THE NATION 361 

.retain their majority purely through brute-force and that in 
Berar it was they who resorted to blows. If that be so, I 
would ask the no-changers to apologise and wherever they 
are holding office through brute force or unclean methods to 
vacate office and yet do their task. It is a gross superstition to 
believe that one cannot serve effectively without the Congress 
prestige at one’s back. 


17th July, 1924 

‘ AN APPEAL TO THE NATION ’ 

By M. K. Gandhi 

Under the above heading Mr. Srish Chandra Chatter ji and 
eighteen other signatories have issued a document which I copy 
'below : 

We are passing through a series of national crises the 
gravity of which can hardly be exaggerated. There are 
moments in the history of nations when a decisive move in 
the right direction often leads a nation to a triumphant goal 
and when that supreme moment is lost in vague imaginations 
or fatse and indecisive steps, it takes long centuries to 
retrieve the loss. India is passing through some such crisis 
and we are extremely fortunate that the crisis is not yet over. 
The whole world is shivering from the pains of Labour, the 
indications of a new life are manifest everywhere, and a 
regenerated India must find a place among the new-born 
nations of the world. This reju\ anated India cannot accept 
any over-lord, she must be a free and independent nation. 

At a time when all the nations of the world are fighting 
for independence and liberty, at a time when our Indian 
heroes are championing the cause of India’s independence 
abroad, it is simply ridiculous and shameful that we Indians 
should hesitate to accept independence as our only legitimate 
and logical goal ; we therefore appeal to our nation to declare 
in the open Congress in unmistakable terms that indepen- 



362 


YOUNG INDIA 


dence and complete independence is our destined goal ; let 
there be no ambiguous phrases to qualify it, let it be preach- 
ed in all its nakedness. It is the moral force of this ideal 
that creates nations. 

We must educate the countiy from this very moment in 
a way so that the people may realise the significance of a 
republic and a federation. We may postpone it for the future 
only at the risk of a great national calamity. We therefore 
appeal to the Congress delegates to define Swaraj as a 
Federated Republic of the United States of India. 

We also appeal to the delegates of this Congress to 
delete the words “ by peaceful and legitimate means ” from 
the Congress creed, so that men holding every shade of 
opinion may have no difficulty in joining the only national 
organisation in the country, though for the present it may 
be retained as a part of the actual programme of Congress- 
work. Our time is short and we cannot dilate upon this- 
point at any length, but we only say that means are after 
all means and our object and means should not be 
confounded with each other. 

We are further of opinion that mere changing of the* 
creed and passing of resolutions would not bring us in- 
dependence. We therefore request the repersentatives of 
our nation to engage the whole strength and the whole 
resources of the Congress in organising a band of national 
workers who will devote ail their time and all their energy 
in the service of their motherland and who must be I'eady tO" 
suffer and even be ready to sacrifice their lives for the 
national cause. When the Congress is backed by an 
organisation of this kind then and then alone will the 
Congress have any strength and only then can we expect 
the voice of the Congress to be respected. 

The other items in our programme should be : — 

(l) Bo3mott of British goods. 



AN APPEAL TO THE NATION 


363 ’ 


(2) Establishment or helping in the establishment of 
factories and cottage industries on a strictly co-operative 
basis. 

(3) Helping the labourers and peasants of our land in 
obtaining their grievances redressed and organising them 
for their own economic good and moral prosperity. 

(4) And finally to organise a federation of all the 
Asiatic races in the immediate future. 

I know that this 'appeal to the nation' has been before the 
public for some time. It contains nothing new. Nevertheless, 
it represents the views not merely of the singatories but of a 
large number of educated Indians. It will not therefore be a’ 
waste of energy to examine the contents. 

Whereas the Congress leaves Swaraj undefined, the signa- 
tories would have complete independence and therefore define 
Swaraj as a Federated Republic of the United States of India. 
There is nothing in the Congress creed to prevent India aspiring' 
after independence. In fact, Swaraj that does not enable India^ 
to declare her independence if necessary is no Swaraj. What 
however the independence of the signatories means is severance 
at any cost and in every case with England. I hold that 
such severence is not indispensable for India's growth andv 
freedom. The burden of severance should lie with the English 
people. It is more dignified for us to declare our readiness to be' 
partners on equal terms and at will with the English in ai 
Federation of Free States. Acceptance of such a position 
on the part of Englishmen may be impossible but we have no* 
right to assume the impossibility of a thing which in its nature 
is not impossible. Isolated independence is not the goal of the 
world-states. It is voluntary mter-dependence. England is by 
no means so independent as to absorb any European Slate she* 
chooses. Her independence depends partly upon the good-wilL 
of her neighbours and partly upon her armament. In so far 
as she relies upon her armament, she is a menace to the worlds, 
as in fact she became during the late war. She stood, as we* 
nov/ learn, not for righteousness but for plunder. Her statesmein 



364 


YOUNG INDIA 


• equally with France and other States were guilty of secret 
treaties, diplomatic fraud and barbarities hardly inferior to 
'-Germany's. It must be clear to every one that it cannot be 
\such armed independence that the signatories want, and if they 
-do I am certain that they represent only themselves. Indepen- 
dence is a word hallowed by centuries of usage and therefore it 
is possible to raise round it a large body of opinion but no one 
would hazard a definition of it that would suit the whole of that 
body. I suggest therefore that there is no substitute for 
Swaraj, and the only universal definition to give it is ‘that status 
-of India which her people desire at a given moment. ? 

If I were asked what India desires at the present moment, 
I should say I do not know. I could only say I would have her 
to desire truthful relations between Hindus and Mussulmans, 
bread for the masses and removal of un touch ability. That is 
how I would define Swaraj at the present moment. I give that 
definition because I claim to be a practical man. I know that 
we want political independence of England. It will not be 
attained without the three things mentioned by me not even if 
'we had arms and we knew how to use them. 

The second thing the signatories desire is the removal of 
the clause restricting the means to what is ‘ peaceful and 
legitimate'. I share the signatories’ opinion, not for the 
jreasons they give but for the very reverse of them. They 
rsay ‘ means are after all means. ’ I would say ‘ means are 
.after all everything. ' As the means so the end. Violent 
■means will give violent Swaraj. That would be a menace 
to the world and to India herself. France obtained her 
freedom by violent means. She is still paying dearly for 
her violence. She will presently be at the mercy of her 
tsavage African army. I am a staunch believer in absolute 
-equality between man and man but my belief does not 
take me to the length that the French have gone. Their 
training of levies of Africans is not proof of her acceptance 
of the doctrine of equality but of her greed for absolute power. 
There is no wall of separation between means and end. Indeed 



AN APPEAL TO THE NATION 365** 

the creator has given us control (and that too very limited) over 
means, none over the end. Realisation of the goal is in exact 
proportion to that of the means. This is a proposition that 
admits of no exception. Holding such a belief, I have been 
endeavouring to keep the country to means that are purely 
‘peaceful and legitimate.’ 

But experience has taught me that the purpose has not 
perhaps been served by the restriction of the means. For I see 
that those who do not believe in the necessity of non-violence 
and truth for the attainment of Swaraj have also joined the 
Congress, for they regard it to be quite the proper thing to sign 
the Congress creed although they do not themselves believe in 
it. Perhaps they do not interpret ‘peaceful’ and ‘legitimate’ as 
respectively to mean ‘non-violent and truthful.’ I would 
myself therefore probably propose the deletion of the clause ‘by 
peaceful and legitimate means.’ It would be a faithful 
representation of the present state of things. We would then 
not be open to the charge of camouflage. Every one will be 
free to follow the policy he likes best. 

The last paragraph of the ‘ appeal ’ reads extremely well 
but it shows the utter inexperience of the signatories about 
practical work. It does not appear to have occurred to them 
that if we have not yet got' a ‘band of national workers who 
will devote all their time and energy ’, it is not because the 
Congress has not tried, but because the Congress has failed to 
get a large number of such workers. Surely it is open to the 
signatories themselves to raise such a band if it exists. They 
will find funds enough for the proper stamp of workers. If the 
signatories will examine the different institutions of India, they 
will find that not one languishes for want of funds. Is it not 
clear that a nation always pays for organisations it needs.? Only 
last week I drew attention to the fact that the Khadi Board 
cannot get the workers it wants. 

The other items of the programme suggested by the 
signatories do not call for any lengthy notice. 



:366 


YOUNG INDIA 


I hope I have shown in a previous article * that boycott of 
.British goods is a totally impracticable proposition. 

The proposal for the establishment of factories has a 
'Strong western flavour about it and ignores Indian conditions. 

The one cottage industry that is possible finds no mention 
An. the programme. 

The proposal to help the labourers and peasants is a 
.counsel of perfection. 

And the final proposal to organise a federation of all the 
Asiatic races in the immediate future demonstrates the present 
impossibility of the programme. 

I therefore respectfully suggest to the nineteen signatories 
to divide all the items suggested by them among themselves, 
..each balch to specialise in connection with the item taken up 
by it and when success is shown in any one of the departments 
to come to the Congress for national adoption. But if they 
have made the proposals without any idea of carrying them out 
(themselves, I ask them to accept the opinion I have tendered 
.and apply themselves to the working, of Khaddar — a programme 
that can harness the energy of all who will work. 


17th July, 19^4 

WHO SHALL BE PRESIDENT ? 

By M. K. Gandhi 

Ever since my name has been put forward as one of the 
.candidates for the presidential honour at the forthcoming 
■Congress at Belgaum I have been torn between two opinions. 
My first thought was immediately to discountenance the idea 
of my nomination. But I did allow myself also to think that in 
the face of the stormy weather that the national barque is 
experiencing, probably I was the tJest person to direct it safely 
to its haven. But I now see quite clearly that my second thought 
was wrong. As I picture for myself the whole of the forth- 
* See page 236. 



WHO SHALL BE PRESIDENT ? 367 

.coming proceedings I quail. The thought of officiall}^ conducting 
the executive for the ensuing year baffles me. Being uncertain 
.as to the direction in which the country is going, I feel I am 
unfit to be at the helm. I have no other programme but that of 
the charkha, Hindu-Muslim unity and untcuchability. I should 
be utterly unfit to carry out any other programme, that for 
instance of bo 3 J'Cott of British goods or energising the masses on 
-the proceedings in the councils. These are but samples of 
many possibilities. And if I cannot help I must not hinder 
from within. It is contrary to my nature to be responsible for 
a programme in which I cannot or do not believe. Moreover, 
I must hold myself free for emergencies. If the Congress repre- 
sentatives do not carry out the simple duty of spinning for half 
.an hour daily and taking the trouble of sending 2000 yards of 
good yarn of their own spinning from month to month, I should 
not know where my usefulness to the Congress could be. My 
presidential address must be a thesis on hand-spinning, complete 
surrender by Hindus of their material ambition to the Mussul- 
mans and other minorities, and on further asking Hindus to 
regard untouchability as a sin. If these things cannot enthuse 
the nation I should be a useless President. How would it do 
for the Congress to have as President a man who sketched a 
programme of putting the whole nation in pantaloons ? We 
would at once vote against him however sincere he might be in 
his professions and however able in the execution of his design. 
We would not have him because he would not suit us. So may 
the case be with me. 

I must not therefore allow myself to be elected. I 
appreciate the affection of those who have put forth my name. 
But I ask them to appreciate my position, sympathise with me 
and withdraw my name. 

There are two possible names, Sarojini Naidu and Dr. 
Ansari. When I mentioned Dr. Ansari's name, a friend said 
he would be the fourth Mussalman President within four years. 
That for me is no bar. Let the Hindus demonstrate their intense 
desire for Hindu-Muslim unity by having a Mussalman as 



368 


YOUNG INDIA 


President. Dr. Ansari is one of the few impartial leaders we 
have in both the communities. From the Hindu-Muslim 
standpoint alone therefore Dr. Ansari may be the best selection. 

But I must confess that at the present juncture I would 
give my vote to Sarojini. She stands for solid Hindu-Muslim 
unity. Mussalmans do not distrust her. We have not yet had 
an Indian woman as our President. This is the fittest 
opportunity for paying our Indian sisters the compliment that 
is long overdue. Her services in East and South Africa are 
still fresh in our memory. We cannot reward them better than 
by selecting her as onr President for the coming session. It 
will strengthen the cause of our countrymen overseas. They 
will realise in a special manner that we are not unmindful of 
their interests. Her election will be a graceful acknowledge- 
ment of the courtesy and sympathy extended to our fair 
ambassador by hundreds of Europeans in both the sub-con- 
tinents and to the opponents among them. It would be an 
indication of our determination to make our own the cause of 
our country-men abroad- Lastly, we want an impartial 
President this year. I am frankly a partisan in the sense that 
I am an out and out advocate of the old programme. Mrs. 
Sarojini Naidu has, fortunately for her and the nation, no such 
unalterable view and what is more, no one will identify her 
with any programme as I rightly must be with the programme I 
may advocate. I therefore, respectfully ask the Provincial 
Committees to withdraw my name and elect Sarojini Devi as* 
President, unless for the reason mentioned they would rather 
have a Mussalman to preside and] would therefore elect Dr.. 
Ansari. 



THE LOKAMANYA ANNIVERSARY 




31st July, 1924 

THE LOKAMANYA ANNIVERSARY 
Bv M. K. Gandhi 

This fourth anniversary of the withdrawal of the physical 
presence of the Lokamanya from our midst has a special 
significance for me and the movement I represent. Both 
friends and critics inform me that a section of the Maharashtra 
press is delivering a series of attacks on the movement and me 
which I should read and answer. I have resisted the tempta- 
tion to do so. But from what they write and the extracts they 
send, I know enough to understand their meaning. 

I am anxious to pay my quota of tribute to the memory of 
the deceased on this occasion of the fourth anniversary. But 
in the midst of distrust of me by some of the best of the 
followers of the Lokamanya, how shall I pay my quota ? 

The task is difficult. Just as on that memorable night in 
1920 1 returned from Sardar Griha after having had a last look 
at the remains as they lay in the death chamber, I felt an 
oppressive loneliness. I was secure in the Lokamanya’s 
presence. But by his departure I felt hopelessly insecure. 
I could differ from him and express my difference in respectful 
terms, but we could never misunderstand each other, I could 
not feel so with his followers not because they would want to- 
distrust me but because, being without a guide whose word 
was law to them, they would always feel insecure and hesitant 
about my views and not in perfect agreement among themselves^ 
Division in their ranks was the last thing in the world I 
desired. I have more than once expressed my admiration 
for the Maharashtra party. It has a determined policy. It is 
well-drilled. It is able. It has a record of great sacrifice behind 
it, I wanted and want still to capture not to divide the party. I 
wanted and still want to convert it to my view of the means for 
the attainment of Swaraj. With Lokamanya alive, I had only 
24 



370 


YOUNG INDIA 


him to convert or to be converted by him. He had an instinct- 
ive perception of things and situations. As he said to me. ‘if 
the people follow your method, I am yours.’ 

But to-day there is a divided Maharashtra. If however my 
faith in Satyagraha is immutable, I must conquer Maharashtra 
as I hope to conquer Englishmen. But I must have the help 
•of Maharashtra no-changers. If they have understood the 
secret of non-violence and truth, they must actively love the 
pro-changers even whilst they differ from them. They must not 
criticise them. Each party has enough work to do without 
flying at ea6h other’s throats. 

Two distinguished friends have appealed to me to bring 
the two parties together and lead them. One of them in the 
course of a long letter says, ‘ To my mind there is no more 
necessary or radical contradiction but only a difference 
between the Tilak policy and the Gandhi policy than between 
submarine blockade an'd aeroplane attack. Indeed the two can 
work together, (but along separate lines — the Tilak policy with- 
in the Councils, the Gandhi policy in the country outside, 
at large) in open, express and therefore righteous alliance 
against the common enemy for the common good. ’ These 
sentences put forth the position clearly up to a point. I say 
up to a point ’ because my conception' of non-co-operation is 
exclusive of participation in the Councils, That may be and is 
my limitation. One man cannot control both the movements — 
those of the submarine and the aeroplane. Nor can the two 
directors change places though both may have a common aim. 

I can strengthen the work in the Councils only by working 
outside and even by decrying the councils and thus turning the 
attention of the people away from them. The better analogy 
for my purpose is that of anti-septic and aseptic treatment. 
Tbe two cannot be applied at the same time and on the same 
patient. But the surgeons belonging to the two schools may try 
their methods on different patients likely to submit to them and 
can do so without hampering each other. The same friend 
says further, * While Tilakji and Gandhiji remain unreconciled 



THE LOKAMANYA ANNIVERSARY 


371 


the heart of India will continue to be torn between the two and 
will not be able to settle down to steady work.’ If such a 
catastrophe happens, if the country does not ^settle down’, I 
would provre indeed an unskilful surgeon and an indifferent 
■representative of my own method. I assure the friend and the 
reader that I am all attention. It is a matter of no pleasure to 
me that the strain continues. It will not, however, continue a 
day longer than is inevitable. 

I invite assistance of the no-changers in hastening the pro- 
cess of settling down. The no-changers’ faith consists in 
working from within and in that only. They can, therefore, 
religiously gag themselves. They will turn out better 
work. They must not retaliate. In every case where a fight in 
the shape of canvassing or wire-pulling is required, they may 
relinquish the Congress control. The pro-changers cannot afford 
to do without out-side activity and agitation. They may there- 
fore control the press and the Congress organisation if they 
choose. I would like, by their consent, to keep the Congress a 
mass organisation, which it can only be, if the workers concen- 
trate their attention upon that to the exclusion of everything 
else. But it cannot be so kept if there has to be a pitched and 
bitter fight between two parties. In that case the no-changers 
must, even if it is possible by manoeuvring to secure a majority, 
surrender control with the greatest good grace to the pro- 
changers. Let us recognise this one fact. The masses do not 
yet actively participate in or understand our method of work. 
Only workers in their midst can gain influence over them. I 
could quote a dozen illustrations of silent workers who have 
more influence with the masses than any of our notable orators. 
We must not, therefore, use the masses as pawns in the game. 
Nor should control of the Congress be surrendered in a manner 
to embarrass the pro-changers. The passage, to their hands 
must be decorous and frank, without mental reservations. 
Such delivery can only be made by those who have a living 
faith in the charkha and who will grudge to take away a single 
minute from it and its organisation. 



372 


YOUNG INDIA 


But whether the no-changers appreciate and follow my 
advice or not, I hope, God willing, to prove my faith by com- 
pletes! surrender at a time and in a manner that cannot 
embarrass the pro-changers and cannot compromise the nation- 
al cause. When I have succeeded in so doing, not before, I 
shall have paid my humble tribute to the memory of the 
Lokamanya. I can deserve the heritage left by him only by 
being true to myself. 


4th September, 1924 
WHAT ABOUT THE PRESIDENT ? 

By M. K. Gandhi 

The uncertainty as to the President-ship too is a cause of 
suspense to many. I am sorry that I should have become the 
cause of uncertainty and suspense ever since my return to public 
life. I am sorry for it. But what cannot be cured must be endur- 
ed. I still do not know where I stand. I am not going to preside 
for the purpose of division. I will accept the honour if my ac- 
ceptance serves the nation in any way. The fact is I am tired of 
these divisions. I read Faust in theYerawada jail for the second 
time. My first reading of it years ago left no impression on me. 
I could not catch Goethe's message. I do not know that I have 
even now. I may claim to have understood it somewhat. 
Margaret is sore at heart and troubled. She finds no relief from 
her misery save by going to the spinning wheel and to the music 
of the wheel giving vent to her grief. I was much struck by the 
whole conception. Margaret is alone in her room torn within 
with doubt and despair. The poet sends her to her wheel lying in 
a corner in the room. The reader may be sure she had a well- 
chosen library of books, a few paintings and a copy of hand 
written and illustrated Bible. She finds no solace either in the 
paintings or the books or for Margaret the Book of books. She 



WHAT ABOUT THE PRESIDENT ? 


37a- 

involuntarily goes to the wheel and finds peace in refusing to find 
it. Here are the noble lines: — 

** My peace is gone, and my heart is sore: 

I hove lost him, and lost him, for evermore! 

The place, where he is not, to me is the tomb, 

The world is sadness and sorrow and gloom! 

My poor sick brain is crazed with pain; 

And my poor sick heart is torn in twain ! 

My peace is gone and my heart is sore. 

For lost is my love for evermore! 

You may paraphrase them a little and the verses almost 
represent my condition. I seem to have lost my Love too and 
feel distracted. I feel the abiding persence of my Lover and yet 
he seems to be away from me. For he refuses to guide me and 
give clear-cut injunctions. On the contrary, like Krishna, the 
arch mischief-maker to the Gopis, he exasperates me by ap- 
pearing, disappearing and reappearing. When I see the light 
steadily before my eyes, I shall see my way clear and ask the 
reader to follow me. 

Meanwhile I can only take up the wheel or speak or write 
about it and commend it to the reader. In my loneliness, it is 
my only infallible friend and comforter. May it be so to the reader. 
One friend at least equally tossed like Margaret and me says 
Fortunately 3 ''OU have left the spinning wheel for li's. I am 
therefore consoling myself as much as I can by spinning. ” 

4th September^ 1924 

LOWEST COMMON MEASURE 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The readers of Young India will find in the summary of my 
speech at the Excelsior Theatre, Bombay, an idea developed for 
the purpose of bringing together all the various elements in the 
country that are at present working against one another often 
without knowing that they are doing so. Everybody is asking 



374 


YOUNG INDIA. 


me to bring these together. I am therefore trying to see what 
can bring these elements together. In other words what are the 
things in which the majority of those who have at all taken part 
in moulding public life can or do agree or which are indispens- 
able for our internal growth. Though the external may have its 
use, constituted as I am, I have all my life thought of growth 
from within. External appliances are perfectly useless if there is 
no internal regction. When a body is perfect within, it becomes 
impervious to external adverse influences and is independent of 
external help. Moreover when the internal organs are sound 
they automatically attract external help. Hence the proverb God 
helps those who help themselves. If therefore we would all work 
to bring about internal perfection we need not take up any other 
activity at all. But whether' we do so for or not at least the Con- 
gress may restrict itself to internal development alone. 

What then is this lowest common measure necessary for 
such growth? I have always suggested the spinning wheel and 
khaddar, unity among all the religions,* and removal by Hindus 
of untouchability, I hardly think that there is any difference of 
opinion about the last two items. I know there is still a differ- 
ence of opinion as to the national necessity of the spinning wheel 
and khaddar and the method of working it. I have endeavour- 
ed to show elsewhere why khaddar is a necessity of national 
exist ance and universal spinning is the only method. 

4th SepteinOer^ 1924 
WHEN WILL IT END? 

By M. K. Gandhi 

People are however asking, ‘when will this suspense all 
end ? So far as I am concerned it is all ended. I have no 
fight left in me, I do not propose to fight the Swarajists at the 
forthcoming Congress. Nor do I wish to fight the Mode- 
rates. I have no terms or my only terms are the begger^s bowL 
I ask the Swarajist, the Moderate, the Liberal, the Convention- 
ist to throw into it yarn of their own spinning. Such being my 
mental condition I can but advice all the national workers 



FRAUD BY CONGRESSMEN 


375 


simply to concentrate their effort on spinning, on promoting 
unity, and if Hindus on removing untouch ability. 

But the no-changers further ask how about Congress Com- 
mittees ? My own opinion is that the constitution has broken 
down. We have no electorate worth the name. Where there 
is a respectable number on the roll, it is not of those who take 
a lively interest in the Congress proceedings. We are therefore 
almost a self-appointed electorate and self-appointed represen- 
tatives. With such an electorate bitterness is inevitable when 
there are rival candidates. Impartiality is possible only when the 
electorate is large, intelligent and independent. My advice 
therefore is that where there is the slightest possibility of friction 
and opinion is known to be evenly balanced the no-changers 
should withdraw from the contest. They may keep office or 
keep their majority where there is no possiblity of friction and 
where opinion is overwhelmingly in their favour. There should 
be no manipulation, no manoeuvring. It is a terrible respon- 
sibility workers take upon their shoulders when they exploit 
electorates. Corruption is the bane of governments by majori- 
ty. Let those at least who know better be no party to it. 


11th September^ 1924 
FRAUD BY CONGRESSMEN 
By M. K. Gandhi 

In poor Orissa some so-called Congressmen are reported to 
have misappropriated Congress funds to the extent of several 
thousand rupees. One man had adopted the role of an ascetic 
and appeared to be working so zealously that he began to com- 
mand influence and confidence till at last he was appointed to a 
position of trust. The question of dealing with the fraud became 
very serious and still remains so. The matter was referred to- 
me and I had no hesitation in advising proceedings and sug- 
gesting that the Congress official who trusted the defaulter 
should after finishing the case resign office if necessary for 



376 


YOUNG INDIA. 


breach of the boycott resolution. This boycott of law courts 
cannot be allowed to be used by so-called Congressmen to 
defraud the Congress itself. Private parties if they are non-co- 
operators may beware of engagements that may involve them in 
law suits. But as between Congress men and as regards 
Congress affairs, in other words in matters of trust, 
it will defeat the very purpose of the boycott if unscrupulous 
people under cover of the boycott sought by belonging 
to the Congress to defraud the institution itself. At the 
risk therefore of being considered inconsistant I have no 
hesitation whatsoever in advicing the Congress officials in 
Orissa to take legal proceedings against the culprits for the 
recovery of trust funds and then tendering resignation, if need 
be. If I were president of the Congress Committee I should 
not only authorise the official concerned to take legal proceed- 
ings but after his resignation endeavour to have the official 
reinstated for zealous discharge of his duty. The saving of 
Congress funds is as much a duty as the retention of the 
boycott of law courts. As a matter of fact the Congress official 
who may be the plaintiff or complainant in his representative 
capacity commits no personal breach of the boycott resolution. 
It is the Congress that does it. And the Congress has a perfect 
right to break its own law in its own favour. In a well ordered 
state the maxim, ‘The king can do no wrong,' has a legitimate 
purpose and place. 


11th September, 1924 
THE REALITIE.S 
By M. K. Gandhi 

It is possible that the reader is being disturbed by the 
bewildering changes he may be noticing at present in the Young 
India writings. I can assure him that they are not changes but 
they are a distinct advance in the direction we are going or 
should go. They are natural corollaries to the principles we 
profess. 



THE REALITIES 


377 


If we will remember that NON-VIOLENCE is more 
important than non-co-operation and that the latter without the 
former is a sin, what I am at present developing in these 
pages will be as clear as daylight. The difficulty, however, is 
that the reader does not know much of what is going on behind 
the scenes. I am restraining myself partly on purpose and 
partly because I cannot do otherwise. It is diffi(!nilt to pass on 
•decisions from moment to moment and from day to day to the 
fellow-workers. I must simply trust that as they are in my 
•opinion the necessary corollary to the main principle, they will 
he as plain to the reader as they are to me. 

The fact is, action must vary with every varying circum- 
stance. It is not inconsistent, if it springs from the same 
source. 

What must be however apparent to every one is that our 
-differences are increasing. Each group is making of its 
programme a matter of principle. Each sincerely believes 
that its programme will bring us nearer to the common goal. 
So long as there is a body of people in the country — and it is a 
large if not a growing body — so long will there be parties 
prosecuting the Councils programme. Our non-co-operation 
therefore has taken the form of non-co-operation in practice 
with one another instead of the Government. Without wishing 
it we are weakening one another and to that extent helping the 
•system we are all seeking to destroy. Let us recognise its chief 
^characteristic. It is parasitical and derives nutrition from the 
fungi of national life. 

Our non-co-operation was meant to be a living, active, non- 
violent force matched against the essential violence of the 
•system. Unfortunately the non-co-operation never became 
actively non-violent. We ‘satisfied ourselves with physical 
non-violence of the weak and helpless. Having failed to pro- 
duce the immediate effect of destroying the system, it has re- 
coiled upon us with double strength and now bids fair to destroy 
us, if we do not take care betimes, I for one, am therefore 
determined not to participate in the domestic wrangle but would 



378 


YOUNG INDIA 


even invite all concerned to do likewise. If we cannot actively 
help, we must not hinder. I am just as keen a believer as ever 
in the five boycotts. But I clearly see, as I did not at the time 
of the A. I. C. C. meeting, that whilst we maintain them in our 
own persons, there is no atmosphere for working them. There 
is too much distrust in the air. Every action is suspected and 
misinterpreted. And whilst we carry on a war of explanation 
and counter-explanation, the enemy at the door is rejoicing and 
consolidating his forces. We must avoid this almost at 
any cost. 

I have therefore suggested that we should find out the 
lowest common measure among all the political parties and 
invite them all to co-operate on the Congress platform for 
achieving that common measure. This is the work of internal 
development without which there will be no effective external 
political pressure. The politicians who put the external work 
before the internal, or who think (which is the same thing) that 
the internal is too slow for them should have .the greatest 
freedom to develop their strength, but in my opinion, this, 
should be outside the Congress platform. The Congress must 
progressively represent the masses. They are as yet untouched 
by politics. They have no political consciousness of the type 
our politicians desire. Their politics are confined to bread and 
salt— I dare not say butter, for millions do not know the taste 
of ghee or even oil. Their politics are confined to communal 
adjustments. It is right however to say that we the politicians, 
do represent the masses in opposition to Government. But if 
we begin to use them before they are ready we shall cease to 
represent them. We must first come in living touch with them 
by working for them and in their midst. We must share their* 
sorrows, understand their difficulties and anticipate their 
wants. With the pariahs we must be pariahs and see how we 
feel to clean the closets of the upper classes and have the 
remains of their table thrown at us. We must see how we 
like being in the boxes, miscalled houses, of the labourers of 
Bombay. We must identify ourselves with the villagers who- 



THE REALITIES 


373 ' 


toil under the hot sun beating on their bent backs and see how 
we would like to drink water from the pool in which the villagers* 
bathe, wash their cloths and pots and in which their cattle 
drink and roll. Then and not till then shall we truly represent 
the masses and they will, as surely as I am wrting this, respond 
to every call, 

'We cannot all do this, and if we are to do this, good-bye tO' 
Swaraj for a thousand years and more,'^ some will say. I 
shall sympathise with the objection. But I do claim that some 
of us at least will have to go through the agony and out of 
it only will a nation full, vigorous and free be born. I suggest 
to all that they should give their mental co-operation and that 
they should mentally identify themselves with the masses, 
and as a visible and tangible token thereof, they should 
earnestly spin for at least thirty minutes per day in their 
name and for their sake. It will be a mighty prayer from' the 
intelligentia among the Hindus, Mussalmans, Parsis, Christians 
and others of India, rising up to Heaven for their, that is^ 
India’s deliverance. 

I see no way of removing the Hindu-Muslim tension, which 
is becoming daily tenser, save by all the parties coming 
together on the Congress platform and devising the best method 
of solving a problem which seems to defy solution and to dash 
to pieces all the fond hope we had of securing a national freedom 
that is broad based upon mutual trust and mutual help. If 
for no other reason, let us, at least for the sake of achieving 
unity, give up the internecine political strife. 

Here is my proposal to that end. 

(1) The Congress should suspend all the boycotts except 
that of foreign cloth till the session of 1925. 

(2) The Congress should subject to (l) remove the boycott 
of Empire goods, 

(3) The Congress should confine its activity solely to the 
propaganda of handspinning' and handspun khaddar, the 
achievement of Hindu-Muslim unity, and in addition, its Hindu 
member’s activity to the removal of untouchability. 



^380 


YOUNG INDIA. 


(4) The Congress should carry on the existing national 
^educational institutions; and if possible, open more and keep 
them independent of Government control or influence. 

(5) The four-anna franchise should be abolished and in 
its place the qualification for membership should be spinning 
by every member for half an hour per day and delivery to the 
‘Congress from month to month of at least 2000 yards of self- 
spun yarn, cotton being supplied where the member is loo poor 
to afford it. 

It is necessary to say a word about the proposed radical 
■change in the Congress constitution. I may be pardoned for 
saying that I am the principal author of the Congress constitu- 
tion. It was intended to be the most democratic in the world, 
and if successfully worked, to bring Swaraj without more. But 
it was not so worked. We had not sufficient honest and able 
workers. It must be confessed that it has broken down in the 
-sense in which it was intended. We never had even one crore 
of members on the roll. At the present moment probably our 
nominal roll does not exceed two lacs for all India. And the 
vast majority of these' too are as a rule not interested in our 
proceedings save for paying four annas and voting. But what 
we need is an effective, swiftmoving, cohesive, responsive 
organisation containing intelligent, industrious, national 
workers. Even if we are a few only, we should give a better 
account of ourselves than a cumbrous and slow body with no 
mind of its own. The only boycott proposed to be retained is 
that of foreign cloth and if we are to make it successful, we can 
only do so by making the Congress for a time predominantly a 
spinners’ association. It will be a great triumph and a great 
demonstration, if we succeed in one constructive item of a 
striking magnitude. I hold that the only possible thing of the 
kind is handspinning and handspun khaddar. If we are to make 
of khaddar a national success, the spinning wheel is the only 
thing. If we are permanently to interest the masses in the 
national welfare of the country, the spinning wheel is the only 



TEH REi^LITIES 


SSL’ 

medium. If we are to banish pauperism from the land, the 
spinning wheel again is the only remedy. 

The implications of my proposals are that 

(a) The Swarajists should be free to organise themselves^ 
without any opposition from the Congress or no- 
changers. 

(b) The members of other political bodies should be invit- 
ed and induced to join the Congress. 

(c) The no-changers should be . precluded from carrying 
on any propaganda either direct or indirect against 
Council-entry. 

(d) Those who do not personally believe in any of the four- 
boycotts will be free, without any disgrace whatso-- 
ever, to act as if they did not exist. Thus non-co-ope- 
rating lawyers will be free to resume practice if they 
chose and title holders, school masters &c,, will be 
free to join the Congress and be eligible to the 
executive. 

The scheme enables all the political parties to work 
unitedly for the internal development. The Congress 
presents a suitable opportunity for a conference of all political 
parties and outside the Congress to frame a Swaraj scheme ac- 
ceptable to all and for presentation to the Government. Perso- - 
nally I am of opinion that time has not arrived for any such 
presentation. I believe that it would increase our internal 
strength beyond expectation, if we could all simply unite to make 
the foregoing constructive programme a success. But a large 
number of those who have hitherto led the country think other- 
wise. In any event a Swaraj scheme for the sake of ourselves 
is a necessity. As the reader will remember, I am in this matter 
a complete convert to Babu Bhagwandas’s view. I would 
therefore join any such conference, if my presence was required, 
and assist at framing the scheme. The reason for insisting on 
this matter being treated as an activity outside the Congress is 
to keep the Congress purely for internal development for full 
one year. When we have achieved a measure of success com— 



382 


YOUNG INI>1A 


■mensurate with the task before us, the Congress may function 
for outside political activity. 

What if the proposal is not accepted and it is found difficult 
;to bring together all parties on the Congress platform and to 
heal the breach between the Swarajists and ourselves ? My 
answer is simple. If the whole fight is for ‘ capturing ’ the 
^Congress, I must refuse to enter upon it. I would advise all 
who think with me to do likewise. I would advise handing the 
■Congress over to the Swarajists on their terms and leave the 
Swarajists to work the Councils programme unhampered by 
5ny counter propaganda. I would engage the no-changers purely 
on the constructive programme and advise them to seek such 
help from the other parties as they can give. 

Those who depend for national regeneration solely on the 
(Constructive programme, may be expected to lead in the matter 
of self-sacrifice. Not one of the things we hold dear can be 
.achieved by trying to retain power in the Congress in opposition 
;to the Swarajists. We must hold it on their sufferance. Both 
parties, .will be guilty of corrupting the simple people who wor- 
“ship the name ' Congress \ if they -are made at our, bidding to 
( engage in a suicidal tug of war. Power that comes from service 
faithfully rendered ennobles. Power that is sought in the name 
<of service and can only be obtained by a majority of votes is a 
•delusion and snare to be avoided, especially at the present mo- 
ment. 

Whether I have convinced the reader of the soundness of 
my proposal or not my mind is made up. It hurts me to think 
■that those with whom I have hitherto worked hand in glove 
•should be working in a seemingly opposite direction. 

What I have sketched above is not conditions of surrender. 
Mine is an unconditional surrender. I would guide the Congress 
next year only if all parties, wish me to. I am trying to see 
daylight out of this impenetrable darkness. I seem to see it 
.dimly. But I may be still wrong. All I know is that 
there is no fight left in me. This is much for a born fighter to 
•say. I have fought my«dearest ones. But I fight out of love. I 



ANNIE BESANT’S DECLARATION 


383 


-should fight the Swarajists too out of love. But I must, I see, 
first prove my love. I thought I had proved it. I see I was 
wrong. I am therefore retracing my steps. I ask everyone to 
help me to do so and to reunite the two wings on a common 
platform. The Congress must, for sometime to come at least, 
remain largely a homogeneous body. 


18th September^ 1924 

Dr. ANNIE BESANT’S DECLARATION 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The reader will, I hope, join me in welcoming Dr. Annie 
Besant’s declaration^ on the situation. It is to me a matter of 
great importance that she should recognise the necessity of 
spinning by way of example by every worker in the national 
cause. Her example must mean much for the spinning 
movement. That at her age the gifted lady should consent to 
devote half an hour, in the midst of her incessant activity, to 
spinning speaks volumes for her devotion to the national cause. 

So far as the constitution of the Congress is concerned, 
there is evidently some confusion. There is no question of 
suspending it. It will need amending, if my proposal about 
spinning is accepted. The non-co-operation programme, inclu- 
ding civil disobedience, is not part of the constitution. That 
programme will, if my proposals are accepted, be certainly 
suspended for one year. My share in the framing ot a Swaraj 
scheme would be this. I would attend, if required, any non- 
official conference of different parties to frame the scheme. 
I would be bound by the majority vote in the sense that I would 
not threaten civil disobedience or non-co-operation, merely 
because the scheme does not satisfy me — not even after the year 
of grace is over — provided the majority are satisfied with it. I 
would actively work for the scheme, if it satisfies my minimum. 
I may here say a word about the Congress constitution. I 

* See page 384. 



384 


YOUNG INDIA 


observe critics ascribing to me the opinion that the constitution^ 
has been an absolute failure. It has certainly broken down a& 
measured by its own standard. But in my opinion it cannot 
be seriously denied that the Congress still remains the most 
national and representative of all the organisations of India. It 
still has the largest number of original members on its books 
and has the largest number of volunteers and paid workers of 
any organisation. Nor do I wish to be understood to mean that 
non-co-operation has absolutely failed. On the contrary, it has- 
vitalised the nation as nothing else has. But it has not come- 
up to the expectations formed of it. The response of the people 
was great, but not great enough for the purpose intended. All 
this, however, is small comfort to the workers, who have yet 
much work to do before they can reap the harvest. 


FOR UNITY 
By Annie Besant 

Mr. Gandhi has spoken out quite plainly in Young India 
as to the lines on which he desires to shape a United Congress.. 
I am therefore, free to state my side of the case, and the 
decision to which I have come, in which my closest followers- 
agree, 

Mr. Gandhi says that in his opinion, “the Congress 
Constitution has broken down. We have no electorate worth 
the name... We are therefore almost a self-appointed electorate 
and self-appointed representatives.” The aspect of Satyagrah 
presented to the public had been that of Civil Disobedience and 
Non-co-operation. Over this, quarrel had arisen. There must 
be some things on which we could all unite and for the prosecu- 
tion of which we could all meet under the same roof. The 
spinning wheel, unity between the different communities, and 
the removal by Hindus of untouchability were the items on 
which perhaps all could unite. 

Mr. Gandhi suggested, when I met him in Bombay, that 
the Congress should for a year suspend from its programme. 



ANNIE BESANT’S DECLARATION 385 

the constitution which had broken down, since it had not been 
carried out — Non-co-operation and Civil Disobedience — these 
being the things that divided us. I accept the three things he 
suggested, on which we could unite. Apart from these, we 
should be free to follow our own lines of political activity, but 
the Congress should be responsible only for the items he 
mentioned, these being obligatory on all Congressmen. 

To the unity between communities and the removal of 
untouchability I agreed at once. In fact, at the very beginning 
of the conversation I had offered to work with him on these 
and also on temperance, excluding picketing, which always led 
to violence sooner or later. 

Remained the spinning-wheel as a village industry in- 
cluding the hand-loom. I agreed with this, and had long used, 
materials thus produced. As I said in 1913 village industries, 
are absolutely necessary, owing to the considerable amount of 
time left unoccupied if agriculture alone is followed. I have 
long urged that the disappearance of village-industries and of 
village self-government and the communal holding of the 
village-land were the chief causes of the terrible poverty 
of the masses, and that the restoration of these was 
essential not only to prosperity but to Swaraj. (See my 
lecture in 1913 on “Village Industries and Self-government'’)- 
But Mr. Gandhi desired more than this theoretical agreement : 
he wanted the Congressman to spin for half-an-hour a day 
whatever his rank or profession. His reasons put briefly 
were : There was a large number of hand-looms lying idle for 
want of yarn, the villagers, he had lived among them, were 
hopeless of any real improvement in their condition, and he 
wanted those who had no need to spin to set them an example,, 
for it would give them hope of practical sympathy, and also 
they would follow an example, while they were too hopeless to 
obey a precept ; no one was too busy to give half-an hour a day 
to help in the redemption of the peasantry by working with 
them at one thing. I remarked that I travelled much and could not 
carry a charkha about with me ; he retorted triumphantly that 
25 



386 


YOUNG INDIA 


a charkha was unnecessary, and produced his son to show that it 
only needed a twirl-gig, less than a foot long, the use of which 
could be mastered in ten or fifteen minuties. The reasons 
seemed to me to be cogent and above all there was the question 
of a United Congress ,* obviously there was no principle against 
spinning for half-an-hour a day ; if only this stood between the 
Congress and myself, I would gladly agree to *'do my bit,^' there 
being nothing I would not do to secure a United Congress, except 
a thing which I believed to be wrong. 

It is, of course, to be definitely understood that every one 
is to be free to follow the particular road to Swaraj that he believes 
to be the best, i. e., to take myself, I continue to work as 
President of the National Home Rule League, as General 
Secretary of the National Conference and Convention, for I am 
pledged to work for Swaraj-Dominion Home Rule — by obtaining 
a constitution establishing it as soon as possible, by constitu- 
tional means, and made by Indians ; also containing a clause 
giving power to amend it. I mentioned this to Mr. Gandhi 
and he said that he would like to take part in the discussion of 
such a constitution, and would be bound by the vote of the 
majority. I asked him ifl was right in thinking that he had 
said that in the political field he meant by Swaraj Parliamentary 
Self-government ; and he said “yes.” 

I am prepared to endorse the three proposals of Mr. Gandhi 
as the Congress programme, and I will rejoin the Congress, 
when those in authority also accept them on behalf of the 
Congress, or if there be no power to do this, then - if the All 
India Congress Committee will promise to put before the 
Belgaum Congress, as early as possible, a resolution accepting, 
them, so that I maybe able, if I can reach Belgaum in time, to 
be present before the end of the Congress. It would be useless 
for me to go if the Congress should reject Mr. Gandhi’s 
proposals, the only conditions on which I could re-enter it. 

Would it be possible for each of the organised bodies which 
are working for Swaraj to elect, say, 20 persons from their 
officers and members to meet in a Parliamentary Conference at 



SPINNING FRANCHISE 


. 387 


a central place like Allahabad, about the third week in Novem- 
ber, under the presidency of a man not belonging to any party, 
to discusss and if possible agree on a draft outlining the form 
•of Swaraj as they envisage it, and to submit this draft to the 
-several bodies which elected them for discussion or amendment ? 
There are the All India Congress Committee, the Liberal 
Federation, the National Convention (including the Council of 
the National Home Rule League), the Swarajya Party, the 
Muslim League and the Independent Party. The delegates of 
•each of these organisations might usefully bring with them 
rough drafts as bases for discussion and any suitable materials 
they may have. In January or in early February the delegates 
should meet again with the resolutions of the bodies they 
represent — several meet in Christmas week — on the draft or 
drafts submitted to them, and draw up final draft Bill, to be 
thrown into the proper parliamentary form by competent 
draftsmen. 

I hope to submit this plan to members of the Council of 
.State and the Legislative Assembly in Simla, and take their 
advice. 


16th October, 1924 
SPINNING FRANCHISE 
By M. K Gandhi 

‘ Spinning as a voluntary sacrifice is all right, but as a quali- 
fication for franchise it is galling.’ This is the substance of the 
objection that I hear against my proposal. I must confess I am 
surprised at the objection, for it is offered not because it is 
-spinning that matters, but because with the critics it is the re- 
•striction, the obligation that matters. But why ? If a monetary 
.qualification, that is, restriction, may be imposed, why not a 
working qualification ? Is it more honourable to pay than to 
labour ? Is it galling in a temperance association to require 
.every member to be a teetotaller? Is it galling in a naval 
.association to require every member to possess certain naval 



388 


YOUNG INDIA 


qualifications ? Is it galling, say, in France where military skill 
is considered a necessity of national existence, to require every 
member to practise the use of arms ? If it is not galling to have 
the requisite test in any of these cases, why should it be galling 
in an Indian National Assembly to have spinning and the 
wearing of khaddar, which is a national necessity, to be the 
qualification for the franchise, or which is the same thing, the 
test of membership ? Is it not the easiest and readiest method 
of popularising it and bringing it home to the people? Of 
course, my argument is addressed only to those who regard it 
as absolutely necessary that India should be self-contained in 
so far as her clothing is concerned and that, principally, through 
the spinning wheel and the hand-loom. 


6th November, 1924 
AN IMPORTANT LETTER 
By S. E. Stokes 

[While Mr, S. E. Stokes was in Delhi, he told me some 
of his own difficulties concerning the ‘ Spinning Franchise’. 
At that time, it was not possible for him to discuss the 
matter with Mahatma Gandhi. But he sent me instead an 
important letter, which I asked to be read to Mahatma 
Gandhi during the fast. A further letter has since come 
from him upon the same subject, which I am submitting to 
Mahatmaji at Mr. Stokes’ own request. The former letter,, 
after discussing the Unity Conference, ended in the para*- 
graphs quoted below. C. F. A.] 

I began to write this letter, without a thought of discussing 
the conference. It was to talk to you of spinning. Your article 
on the subject in Younsr India interested me and prompted me 
to tell you how I feel on the subject, with special reference to 
Mahatma ji’s desire that it should be made the basis of franchise 
for -the National Congress. I should like you, if you think 
proper, to show Mahatmaji what I am writing to you on this, 
subject, for it seems to me to be a very important one. 



AN IMPORT .INT LETTER 389* 

As you know, I am in favour of hand-spinning, and fully 
agreed with Mahatmaji in the burning of foreign cloth at the 
time when he asked the people to do it. We burned ours then 
and do not regret it, and since then we have worn hand-spun, 
and spinning has been carried on in our home, as it is in all 
Pahari homes. I have never spun personally in the past. I am 
now spinning half an hour or more a day and expect to con- 
tinue it. I do so because I can appreciate its value as a 
voluntary act of self-discipline, and because I feel that the 
discipline of Mahatmaji and his love and suffering for his 
fellows entitles him to ask it, as a voluntary act of discipline 
upon the part of those who hope to share in the fruits of 
his self-sacrifice. Also, — and just because I and other men will 
rather be following our own particular inclinations, — I see it as 
an act of self-renunciation, which if we undertake it in the proper 
spirit and in large numbers, will without doubt make us more 
fit for self-government nationally as well as individually. When 
so undertaken it is an act of individual self-government. And to 
the extent that Indians impose this or any other discipline upon 
themselves in matters that they find irksome and uninteresting, 
for the sake of an ideal that they wish to attain, the nation will 
have laid the foundations of character essential to the only form 
of political Swaraj worth having. 

As I have said, I am spinning and expect to continue it; 
but I cannot for a moment accept the idea of compulsory spin- 
ning as the sine qua non of participation in the Congress. Every 
one who seeks to serve India honestly and faithfully, no matter 
what are his particular views as to the nature of his service 
should be entitled to belong to the national body. To me their 
value of spinning for men lies in its being a voluntary self-dis- 
cipline, a self-imposed act of iapasya bearing no fruit except in 
the things of the spirit. To make it anything else is to take 
away its chief value, and to impose it upon those who do not 
believe in it as the door of admission to participation in the 
common national endeavour is to render it positively harmful. 
Though I should continue to spin, I should never feel able to- 



390 


YOUNG INDIA 


accept the fact that I spun as my right to a place in the Congress; 
and rather than accept such a principle, 1 should feel compelled 
to stay outside the Congress. I feel that I understand why 
Mahatmaji wishes it. He wants to turn membership in the 
Congress into a reality so that its members will be only such 
as are ready to discipline themselves in order to belong to it. 
The end I agree with, but not the means. It is a matter of 
principle which goes deeper than any immediate advantage. His 
voctory will be in voluntary acceptance upon the part of each of 
a discipline, the value of which is individually recognise — an 
acceptance the genuineness of which does not need to submit 
its spinning to Khaddar Boards. His victory will not lie in 
bringing about the forced submission to what they cannot 
approve of by a minority of those who wish to faithfully serve 
their country in the Congress. 

Tome the whole question is concerned with the value of 
personality and of character. As you know, I consider these 
values to hold th6 supreme place and the most vital significance 
in the world of seifs evolving experience. The highest values 
are moral values and character values. Therefore, though there 
might be a distinct economic value in compelling all Indians to 
spin, the moral value of spinning or of any other act of self- 
discipline for an ideal would be nil, even if all Indians spun 
subject to whatever form of compulsion. It must be nishkama 
karma not ka7nya karma— \i it is to have a moral value to the 
nation. It must be the work of a morally free and an uncom- 
peiled people. And though an economic value is doubtless 
significant in laying the foundations of a nation's life, the moral 
value is even more essential. For it is upon the character of those 
who constitute a nation that its capacity to function nationally 
must be grounded. 

This letter has become longer than I had intended, but 
I am so certain that the issues involved are vital that I hope 
you will forgive it. 



HOW TO WORK 


391 


The following notes by Mahatma Oandhl on theAgree^ 
ment" appeared in ‘ Young India ’ of ISth November^ 1924, 

HOW TO WORK 

In these notes I propose to take up the a^^reement betv/een 
the Swaraj party and myself where I have left it in the leading 
article. If our recommendation is accepted by the forthcoming 
meeting, it means revolutionising the Congress organisation 
and turning the members from being merelj'- vote-registering 
machines once or twice a year into day-to-day workers and 
contributing materially to the chief national activity. It will 
make the Congress a huge manufacturing and receiving and 
distributing depot. The work cannot be organised without 
method, industry, punctuality, patriotism, self-sacrifice and 
strictest honesty and the required skill. Though anybody can 
become a Congress member by paying four annas till the Con- 
gress accepts the proposal, if the forthcoming meeting approves 
of the proposals every province must begin to organise as if the 
franchise was accepted by the Congress. That is to say, propa- 
ganda must be carried on among the existing members advising 
them of the proposed change and providing them with the 
necessary facility for learning spinning and procuring the wheel 
See. The question will have to be considered as to how the yarn 
is to be collected and how disposed of. Without any Congress 
resolution, save the one applicable to members of Congress 
executives, and by simple exhortation through these columns 
we have today over seven thousand men and women spinning 
voluntarily. Their number is on the increase. It is, therefore, 
reasonable to suppose that when and if the Congress accepts 
the franchise proposal we should be able to reach at least one 
hundred thousand in a few months. Assuming the average out- 
put of yarn to be 5 tolas of 20 counts per month per member it 
would mean 3 12. 5 maunds of yarn per month or 12500 dhotis 
or saris 45 inches in width and 6 yards in length. And when we 
See pp. 395 , 397 and 398 . 



392 


YOUNG INDIA 


remember that labour on the material upto spinning is to be 
free the dhotis must compete with any similar article on the 
market. If only .the nation could concentrate all effort on this 
one national work, exclusion of foreign cloth can be achieved 
without the slightest difficulty and by means the most honour- 
able and non-violent. 

THE FORTHCOMING MEETING 

But all depends on the forthcoming meeting. It is to be a 
meeting not only of the A. I. C. C. but of representatives of all 
Provincial Committees and Associations. I hope that there will 
be a generous response on the part of these representatives to 
Maulana Mahomed Ali's invitation. The joint meeting will 
have to decide not only the question of healing the breach in the 
Congress itself but also of inducing other distinguished leaders 
to join the Congress. The meeting has also to frame an effec- 
tive policy in answer to the Bengal repression. Whatever our 
differences as to the method of reaching our goal, there are no 
two opinions about the desirability of ending the exercise of 
arbitrary powers. 

There is no fieedom for India so long as one pnan, no 
matter how highly placed he may be, holds in the hollow of his 
hands the life, property and honour of millions of human be- 
ings. It is an artificial, unnatural and uncivilised institution. 
The end of it is an essential preliminary to Swaraj. 

OUR HELPLESSNESS 

This is apparent. We seem to have lost all power beyond 
passing resolutions. But if we could all unite on the construc- 
tive programme, it will by itself be a step towards regaining 
self-confidence and power of action. It must be clear to every- 
one that if Hindus and Mussalmansregain their senses, if Hindus 
treat untouchables as their brothers and if we have so popula- 
rised spinning and khaddar as to be within easy reach of ex- 
clusion of foreign cloth, we should not need to do any more to 
command attention to our will. What is more we should need 



IS IT COMPULSION 


393 


neither secret societies for the promotion of violence nor open 
non-violent disobedience. Such a desirable consummation can 
be effected only by united, determined and ceaseless pursuit of 
the constructive programme. That, therefore, is my method 
of effective reply to the volcanic eruption of repression or the 
‘Chronic and helpless subordination of a whole nation. 


IS IT COMPULSION 

The reader must have read Mr. Stokes’ passionate protest^ 
.against hand-spinning being made compulsory for every Con- 
.gress member. It is evident to me that his excessive regard 
for liberty of the individual has disabled him from distinguish- 
ing between voluntary acceptance and compulsion. Compulsion 
means submission of protestants to the thing they oppose under 
pain of being fined or imprisoned. They cannot escape the 
•obligation or the penalty by remaining outside the corporation 
•of which they find themselves members. But when a man joins 
.a voluntary association such as the Congress he does so will- 
ingly and tacitly or explicitly undertakes to obey its rules. 
These rules generally include submission of the minority to the 
wishes of the majority. The voluntary nature of every act of 
every member is clear from the fact that he can secede when- 
ever the majority pass a rule which is in conflict with his con- 
•science. Mr. Stokes’ reasoning is subversive of all corporate 
■self-government. 'Every franchise has some conditions attached 
to it. As a rule there is opposition from some to every form of 
restrictive franchise. May the opposers consider the restric- 
tion carried by the majority compulsion ? Obviously not. For, if 
they may, then there can never be any corporate activity. 

When the new Congress creed was passed in 1920, there 
•was a minority that opposed it on principle and therefore 
.seceded when it was carried by a majority. Under the old creed 
atiahy more were kept out because they could not conscientious- 

* See page 388. 



394 


YOUNG INDIA 


ly subscribe to it. In either case, I hold that the majority had 
a right to pass the rules. Whether in the one case the restric- 
tion was wise and in the other relaxation was unwise is a matter 
of opinion. And so in the matter of present proposal, to make 
hand-spinning part of the Congress franchise may be bad 
policy and may kill the very object that I have in view, but I 
submit that there is nothing inherently wrong in it, that it is* 
not wrong in principle, that it is an unconscious misuse of 
language to call it compulsion. On merits I have no misgivings. 
If hand-spinning is an effective method of making India self- 
supporting it must be made part of the franchise. It is the best 
way of expressing national will and determination. 


loth N'ovembei', 1924 

PUBLIC DEBTS 
By M. K. Gandhi 
A correspondent writes : 

“ You may be aware that a resolution, moved by Mr. 
C. Rajagopalachariar in the open Congress at Gaya in the 
year 1922, regarding the repudiation of public debts that 
might be incurred by the Government of India after 
3i-i2-.'22, was passed. It is needless to state that many re- 
sponsible men in the public life of our country are eager to* 
know your views on the resolution. 

I am sorry to have to confess my ignorance of the resolu- 
tion in question. But now that it has been brought to my 
notice, I have no hesitation in approving of it. I cpngratulate 
both Mr. Rajagopalachari and the Congress, upon the passage 
of that resolution. We may be, as we are, powerless to day,, 
but the world should know what we think of the wasteful and 
enormous expenditure of Indians money. The late Lord 
Salisbury called it a process of bleeding. I should imagine that 
any Swaraj scheme would include an impartial inquiry into the 



THE JOINT STATEMENT 


395 ' 


commitments of the Government of India or the India Office 
and an insistence upon a readjustment of the the financial 
transactions of the outgoing Government. I, therefore, regard 
the resolution as both necessary and honourable. It may excite 
ridicule today. But, when we come to our own, we' should be 
able to point with pride to the fact of our having given due 
notice. For, in ©pite of all I have said about the limitations of 
the Congress who can deny that it is the most representative 
of the nation ? It is for us to make it so representative as to 
command respect and attention. 


18th November, 1924 
THE JOINT STATEMENT 

The following is the text of the statement issued in Calcutta 
on the 6th inst. over the singatures of Mr. Gandhi, Mr. C. R 
Das and Pandit Motilal Nehru : — 

Whereas, although Swaraj is the goal of all the parties in 
India, the country is divided into different groups seemingly 
working in opposite directions, and whereas such antagonistic 
activity retards the progress of the nation towards Swaraj and 
whereas it is desirable to bring, so far as possible, all such 
parties within the Congress and on a common platform, and 
whereas the Congress itself is divided into two opposing 
sections, resulting in harm to the country's cause, and whereas 
it is desirable to reunite these parties for the purpose of 
farthering the common cause, and whereas a policy of repression 
has been commenced in Bengal by the Local Government with 
the sanction of the Governor General, and whereas in the 
opinion of the undersigned this repression is aimed in reality 
not at any party of violence but at the Swaraj party in Bengal 
and therefore at constitutional and orderly activity, and whereas 
therefore it has become a matter of immediate necessity to 
invite and secure the co-operation of all parties for putting 
forth the united strength of the nation against the policy of 



396 


YOUNG INDIA 


repression, we, the undersigned, strongly recommend the follow- 
ing for adoption by all parties and eventually by the Congress 
.at Belgaum : — 

The Congress should suspend the programme of non-co- 
‘Operation as the national progTamme, except in so far as it 
relates to the refusal to use or wear cloth made out of India. 

The Congress should further resolve thatcdifferent classes 
‘Of work of the Congress may be done, as may be found 
necessary, by the different sections within the Congress and 
.should resolve that the spread of handspinning, handweavmg 
and all the antecedent progress and the spread of handspun and 
handwoven khaddar and the promotion of unity between 
•different communities, specially between the Hindus and the 
Mussalmans, and the removal of untouchability by the Hindus 
from amongst them should be carried on by all sections within 
the Congress, and the work in connection with the Central and 
Provincial Legislatures should be carried on by the Swaraj 
Party on behalf of the Congress and as an integral part of the 
Congress organisation and for such work the Swaraj party 
^should make its own rules and raise and administer its own 
funds. In as much as experience has shown that without 
universal spinning India cannot become self supporting regarding 
her clothing requirements, and in as much as hand-spinning is 
the best and the most tangible method of establishing a visible 
^nd substantial bond between the masses and Congressmen and 
women and in order to popularise handspinning and its products 
the Congress should repeal Article VII of the Congress Constitu- 
tion and should substitute the following therefor : — 

No one shall be a member of any Congress Committee or 
organisation who is not of the age of i8 and who does not wear 
handspun and handwoven khaddar at political and Congress 
functions or while engaged in Congress business, and does not 
•make a contribution of 2opo yards of evenly spun yarn per 
month of his or her own spinning or in case of illness, unwill- 
ingness or any such causes a like quantity of yarn spun by any 
•other person. ” 



AN INTEEVIEW 


397 


13th November^ 1924 
AN INTERVIEW 

The following interview on the question of the agreement 
arrived at between the leaders of the Swaraj party and Mr. 
Gandhi at Calcutta which a representative of the Associated 
Press of India, had with Mr. Gatidhi on his return to Delhi on 
the lOth inst. is published: — 

Asked as to why if the agreement signed by himself and 
Messrs. Das and Nehru was intended to be an invitation to 
Liberals and others to rejoin the Congress they had not 
conferred with them before issuing the appeal, Mr. Gandhi 
replied : 

Such a Conference was impossible before the Swarajists- 
and No“Changers could agree upon a joint course, because any 
appeal must be a joint appeal by the two wings of the Congress.. 
As a matter of fact there has been no Conference even with the 
No-changers. It is true that I met the No-changers of Bengal 
and discussed the situation with them, as also I met, for 
instance, Mr. Satyanand Bose and discussed the matter with 
him. But I did not even make .an endeavour to secure their 
assent for the simple reason that I had at my disposal no 
machinery whereby I could ascertain the wishes of the No- 
changers as a body and bind them formally. I, therefore,, 
thought it best to give my own individual opinion and place it 
• before the country for what it was worth. You will see that 
the agreement is a recommendation addressed to all parties* 
within and without the Congress. The time for a Conference* 
is now. The No-changers will express their opinion through 
the forthcoming All-India Congress Committee. Maulana 
Mahomed Ali as President of the Congress has invited to the 
Conference representatives of all parties including the European 
Association. 

The recommendation made by the Swaraj party and myself 
will be submitted at the meeting for their sympathetic- 



398 


YOUNG INDIA 


consideration. There is no finality about the agreement 
except for the Swaraj party and for myself personally. Every- 
body is free to appeal to our reason, and I am sure that neither 
the Swaraj party nor I will stand in the way of any other 
settlement that may bring all the parties together on a common 
platform and facilitate our progress towards the common goal 
and supply an effective answer to the Bengal Government’s 
repressive policy on the one hand and satisfy the ambition of 
the misguided anarchists on the other, and thus wean them 
from their error. I appeal to all the leaders to accept Moulana 
Mahomed Ali's invitation and assist and guide the deliberations 
vofthe forthcoming Conference at Bombay. 


ISth November^ 1924 
THE AGREEMENT 
By M. K. Gandhi 

I thank God that He gave me strength to surrender to the 
'Swarajists all that it was possible for me to surrender — much 
more than I or many friends had expected. I must acknow- 
ledge my indebtedness to the Swarajists for their accommoda- 
tion. I know that many do not put the same emphasis that I 
do on the constructive part of the programme. With many the 
stiffening of the franchise was the bitterest pill and yet for the 
sake of unity and for the sake of the country they have yielded. 
All honour to them for so doing. 

The agreement puts Swarajists on a par with the No- 
changers. It was inevitable if voting and all it means was to be 
avoided. Non-violence means utmost accommodation compatible 
with one’s principles. Swarajists claim t^ be a growing body. 
That they have made an impression on the Government cannot 
be gainsaid. Opinions may differ as to its value but it is not 
possible to question the fact itself. They have shown determi- 
nation, grit, discipline and cohesion and have not feared to 
'Carry their policy to the point of defiance. Once assume the 



THE AGREEMENT 


399 


desirability of entering Councils and it must be admitted that they 
have introduced a new spirit into the Indian Legislatures. 
That their very brilliance takes the nation’s mind away from 
itself is to one like me regrettable, but so long as our ablest 
men continue to believe in Council entry, we must make the 
best of the Legislatures. Though an uncompromising No- 
.changer, I must not only tolerate their attitude and work with 
them, but I must even strengthen them wherever I can. 

If they will not decide matters of important differences by 
means of the vote, the No-changers can carry on Congress 
work only by mutual consent and forbearance unless not 
wishing to fight, they will retire from Congress control alto- 
gether. It is recognised that neither party can do without the 
‘Other. Both occupy an important position in the country. 
The Congress was weakened by the secession of the Liberals 
and the Besantites. The cleavage was inevitable because they 
were opposed to non-co-operation on principle. We must 
avoid further cleavage if it is at all possible. We roust not 
lightly set up as principle mere matters of opinion and engage 
in pitched battles over them. 

If the non-co-operation programme is suspended, as I feel 
•sure it must be, it follows as a natural corrollary, that the 
Swaraj party should have no odium attached to its activity. It 
is beside the purpose to say or examine what would have 
happened if the Congresmen had never thought of the Councils. 
We have to take the situation as it stands today and suit our- 
:selves to it or make it suit us, if that is possible. 

Lastly, the Bengal situation demanded that No-changers 
gave the Swaraj Party the strongest support that it was in 
their power to give. 

‘ But ’ said some of the No-changers and others to me, 
** how can you subscribe to a document which says 
that the Government have really attacked the Swaraj 
Party and not the anarchists ? Are you not unjust 
to the Government ?’ This attitude pleased me and flattered 
me. It pleased me to notice in my questioners a sincere 



400 


YOUNG INDIA 


desire to do justice to a government they do not like. It flattered 
my pride in that my questioners expected from me exact judg- 
ment and fullest justice. I confessed to them that I had against 
the Government the greatest prejudice based on past experience;, 
that the writings in the British and British owned Indian Press- 
had prepared me for an attack on the Swaraj party, that it was 
the declared policy of the Government to lop off ‘tall poppies 
and that whilst it was possible that among the arrested there 
may be some with anarchical tendencies, it was nevertheless a 
fact, that the vast majority of them were Swarajists and that if 
it was a fact as the Government contended, that the anarchists 
were a large party, it was curious that the Government could 
find in the mam only Swarajists to lay their hands upon. I told 
them further that if there was an extensive and active anarchi- 
cal organisation, the fiercest spirits were likely to be outside 
the Swaraj party rather than inside it, that no arms, it is said 
were found by the police during their night search. Nothing, 
that my questioners told me in reply shook my belief and I am 
inclined to think that if I did not bring my questioners round 
to my belief, I at least convinced them that I had good grounds 
for my opinion and that the burden lay upon the government 
to show that they had no designs upon the Swaraj Party in 
Bengal. 

But the proposed suspension does not effect the individual 
non-co-operators. They are not only entitled to hold to their 
views but would be very little worth if they gave up their per- 
sonal non-co-operation. For instance, suspension of the 
non-co-operation programme cannot mean for me recall 
of my medals or resumption of practice or sending my children 
to Government schools. Thus whilst suspension will leave a 
convinced non-co-operator free to retain his non-co-operation,, 
for those who took up non-'co-operation only as a policy and in 
obedience to the Congress call, it makes it open if they like, to- 
recall their non-co-operation without the slightest stigma attach- 
ing to their so doing. F urther, if suspension is agreed upon, it 
is not open to any Congressman as such to preach non-co-oper- 



THE AGREEMENT 401 

atioa‘as part of the Congress policy or programme. On the 
other hand it is open to him if he so chooses to dissuade people 
from taking up non-co-operation during the period of 
suspension. 

Then there is the spinning franchise. I wanted much more 
khaddar on all occasions and spinning 2000 yards per month 
by all Congressmen except ip case of illness or like disability- 
This has been watered down to wearing khaddar on political 
occasions and Congress business and spinning by deputy even 
for unwillingness. But here again it was not possible for me 
to insist upto the breaking point. In the first place the Maha- 
rashtra party had constitutional difficulty in agreeing to spin- 
ning or wearing khaddar being part of the franchise at all, and 
in the second place the Swaraj party as a body does not attach 
the same importance either to the wearing of khaddar or to. 
hand-spinning. It does not consider them to be indispensable 
as I do either for the attainment of Swaraj or for the exclusion 
of foreign cloth. It was, therefore, from their standpoint a 
tremendous concession to their agreeing to make khaddar and 
handspinning part of the franchise even in the modified 
form. I, therefore, gratefully acknowledge the concession 
they have made for the sake of unity. Let those who are 
disposed to grumble at the modification remember that it is a 
great advance to rise from the nominal four anna franchise to a 
tangible and effective franchise that requires every Congress- 
man to testify his belief in the desirability of making India 
self-supporting so far as her clothing requirements are concern- 
ed and that too by reviving the old Indian industry of hand- 
spinning and thus distributing wealth where it is most needed- 

It has been urged that everybody will take advantage of the 
relaxation and the idea of spinning as sacrifice will break down 
and that the wearing of khaddar will be confined only to politi- 
cal occasions and Congress business. I should be sorry if such 
an untoward result were to follow the modification. Those who* 
fear such disaster seem to forget that spinning by every Con- 
gressman was as yet a mere idea of one man. He has now 
26 



402 


YOUNG INDIA 


resigned himself to a modification of his proposal. Surely 
therefore, the embodiment in the franchise of the idea even in a 
modified form is a distinct gain and must increase the number 
of wearers of khaddar and voluntary spinners. 

Moreover, it must be remembered that it is one thing to 
embody reforms in recommendatory or even obligatory resolu- 
tions; it is totally another thing to make them part of franchise. 
Any test for franchise should have no vagueness about it and 
should be easily capable of being carried out. For, inability to 
carry it out means disfranchisement. The wearing of khaddar 
on all occasions and for all purposes may not be possible even 
for the best of us. 

In practice, however, it will be found that the vast majority 
of us who can ill afford a variety of costumes will find it neces- 
sary to wear khaddar on all occasions, if we have to wear it on 
all Congress occasions. For an ardent Congressman every 
occasion is a Congress occasion and he and she would be an in- 
different Congressman or Congresswoman who has no Congress 
work during consecutive twentyfour hours. We should have on 
our roll thousands of voters or original members. They cannot 
have many uniforms nor can they have money to buy yarn spun 
by others. They must spin themselves and thus give at least 
half an hour’s labour to the nation. And a Congress volunteer 
who does not spin himself will be hard put to it to convince the 
candidates for Congress membership of the necessity of spin- 
ning. Everything must, therefore, rest on an honest and loyal 
working of the proposal. 

The agreement is what it professes to be— a strong 
recommendation. I have signed it in my individual capacity. 
Deshbandhu Das and Pandit Motilal Nehru have signed it for 
the Swaraj Party. It, therefore, is a recommendation by the 
Swaraj Party and myself to all Congressmen and others for 
consideration and adoption. I want it to be considered on 
merits. I would urge everyone to eliminate me from considera- 
tion. Unless the recommendation is accepted on merits it 
will be difficult either to achieve the political unity we 



ON TRIAL 


403 


want and should have to secure the exclusion of 
foreign cloth which we must have and which is possible 
only by universal spinning and universal use of khad- 
dar. If the proposal to suspend non-co-operation or to give 
the Swaraj Party adequate hearty recognition in the Con- 
gress or to make the wearing of khaddar and hand-spinning, 
whether personally or by deputy, part of the franchise do not 
commend themselves to the Congressmen and the others who 
are invited they should reject them and unhesitatingly press 
their own solution in the attention of the nation. Deep 
cherished convictions cannot and must not be set aside from 
any consideration whatsoever. 


20th November, 1924 
ON TRIAL 
By M. K. Gandhi 

It is not to be wondered at that No-changers are intensely 
dissatisfied with the agreement arrived at between the Swarajists 
and myself- I have repeatedly admitted that I am but an hum- 
ble explorer of the science of non-violence. Its hidden depths 
sometimes stagger me just as much as they stagger fellow- 
workers. I observe that the agreement seems just now to 
satisfy no one but the parties to it. Many Englishmen regard 
it as an ignominous surrender to the Swarajists on my part. 
Many No-changers regard it as a lapse, if not a betrayal. A 
friend says that it has caused consternation among students. 
Why, they ask, should they remain in national schools if non- 
co-operation is suspended ? They are the greatest sufferers and 
they have not been considered in the pact at all. I hold a letter 
from an Andhra friend which arrests attention and calls for a 
reasoned reply. 

Surrender on my part it undoubtedly is. It; js a conscious 
surrender, but not, as an English paper puts it, to the party of 
violence. I refuse to believe that the Swaraj party is a party of 



404 


YOUNG INDIA 


violence. Such charges were, I know, levelled against even the late 
DadabhaiNaoroji and Justice Ran ade. They were suspected 
and shadowed. Lala Harkishenlal who had no more to do with 
any party of violence than Sir Michael O'Dwyer himself was 
arrested and imprisoned by that satrap. I would have been 
false to the country if I had not stood by the Swaraj party in 
the hour of its need. Let it be unequivocally demonstrated 
that it has had anything to do with voilence and I shall be 
prepared to denounce it in as strong language as is open to me 
to use. On such proof I shall sever all connection with it. But 
till then, I must stand by it even though I do not believe in the 
efficacy of council-entry or even some of the methods of con- 
ducting council warfare. 

But recognition of the party as an integral part of the 
Congress does not mean surrender by individuals of their non- 
co-operation. It means an admission that the Swaraj Party is a 
strong and growing wing of the Congress. And if it refuses to 
take a back seat without a fight, and if it is necessary or even- 
expedient to avoid a fight, the claim to a definite official 
recognition is irresistible. Every Congressman, however, is not 
by reason of his being a Congressman, assumed to be a 
believer in all the items of a Congress programme. My own 
position, I admit, is somewhat different. I have made myself 
instrument in bringing the agreement into being. I am not 
sorry for it. Rightly or wrongly, the country expects me to give 
it some guidance. And I have come to the conclusion that it 
is in the interest of the country to give the Swaraj party the 
fullest possible chance of working out its programme without 
let or hindrance from No-changers. The latter are not bound 
to participate in its activity, if they do not like it. They are 
free and bound, as the Swarajists are bound, to pursue the 
constructive programme only. They are free also to retain 
their individual non-co-operation. But suspension by the 
Congress means that non-co-operators can derive no support 
or strength from the Congress. They must derive all their 
strength from within. And that is their test and trial. If 



ON TRIAL 


405 


their faith abides, it is well with them and non-co-operation. If 
it vanishes with suspension, non-cooperation dies as a force in 
public life. But a friend says “ If you waver, what about lesser 
men ?” I have not wavered. My faith in non-co-operation is as 
bright as ever. For it has been with me a principle of life for 
over thirty years. But I cannot impose my personal faith on 
others, never on a national organisation. I can but try to 
convince the nation of its beauty and usefulness. And if I find 
in reading the national mind, that the nation in so far as it is 
represented by the Congress must have breathing time, I must 
cry halt. I may misread the mind of the Congress. When that 
happens, I shall cease to be any force in the Congress. That 
will be no calamity. But it would be a calamity if by my 
obstinacy I stand in the way of the country’s progress by other 
means, so long as they are not positively mischievous and harm- 
ful. I should for instance rise, even if I was alone, against 
methods of actual violence. But I have recognised that the 
nation has the right, if it so wills, to vindicate her freedom even 
by actual violence. Only then, India ceases to be the land of 
my love even though she be the land of my birth, even as I 
should take no pride in my mother if she went astray. But the 
Swaraj party is a party of orderly progress. It may not swear 
by non-violence as I do, but it accepts non-violence as a policy 
and it discountenances violence, because it considers it to be 
useless if not even harmful. It occupies a prominent position in 
the Congress. I do not know that if its strength was tested, 
it might not be found even to occupy a predominant 
position. It is easy enough for me to secede from the Congress 
and let the party run the Congress. That I can and will do 
when I find that I have nothing in common with the party. 
But so long as I have the faintest hope of its redemption, I 
shall cling to it like a child to its mothers breast. I will not 
weaken it by disowning or denouncing it or by retiring from 
the Congress. 

I have used the word Redemption’ in no offensive sense. 
I too have my method of Shuddhi and Tabligh. It is the best the 



406 


YOUNG INDIA 


world has yet seen. Conscious of my own ground and strength^ 
I let the party act upon me and influence me as much as it will. 
It enables me to know it at its best. I make no secret of m3’’ 
intention that by coming under its influence, I hope to influence 
it in favour of my method. If in the process, it redeems me and 
converts me, all honour to it. I should then declare my con- 
version from the house top. It is Shuddhi by reason appealing 
to reason and heart speaking to heart. It is the non-violent 
method of conversion. Let non-co-operators join forces with 
me. At the same time let them remain firm in their individual 
conduct. If their non-co-operation springs from love, I promise 
that they will convert the Swarajists, and even if they don’t 
succeed, they will have lost nothing, personally. If the country 
is with them, Swarajists, if they do not follow, will naturally 
take a back seat. And if the latter gain ground during the 
twelve months of grace, they must be undisputed masters of 
the Congress, and non-co-operators must be content to be in a 
minority. They may register me in advance as one of that 
minority. 

The problem with the students is the same. Non-co-opera- 
tion may be suspended, but schools will not be suspended. 
They are an accomplished fact. They are among the best 
fruit of non-co-operation. The students are, therefore, expected 
to keep the flag flying and show to the country that they can 
flourish even though the Congress may suspend the non-co-oper- 
ation programme. It is poor faith that needs fair weather for 
standing firm. That alone is true faith that stands the foulest 
weather. 



SHALL WE UNITE ? 


407 


27ih November^ 1924 
SHALL WE UNITE? 

By M. K. Gandhi 

That the conference that met in Bombay last week did 
not result immediately in uniting all parties on a common 
platform shows the difficulty of the task. The appointment of 
a committee to consider the ways and means of bringing about 
a union shows that the conference does not consider the task to 
be hopeless or impossible. Indeed Mr. Jesukhlal Mehta who 
moved that the committee should report on or before 1 5th 
December next had a very fair number of supporters. They 
were quite sanguine of immediate success. The cautious 
many, by fixing the date of the report at 31st March, if they 
have realised the difficulty, have also by implication thrown 
on the committee the burden of finding an acceptable solution. 
Writers in the Press can considerably help the committee by 
guiding public opinion in the right channel. The chief bodies 
to influence the committee are the Liberals, the Independents 
and the National Home Rulers. The last led by Dr. Besant 
have practically accepted the position set forth in the agxee- 
ment between the Swaraj party and me and now ratified by 
the A. I. C. C. The difficulties in the way of the Liberals and 
the Independents are practically the same. They are the 
creed, the transfer of all Council work to the Swaraj party and 
the franchise. It is said that the creed is equivocal. I venture 
to deny the charge. It is a recognition of the existing condition. 
It means Swaraj within the Empire if possible, and without 
if necessary. It is intended to throw the burden on English- 
men of making it possible for us to be and remain equal partners 
in the Empire. It manfully declares the country’s ablity 
to stand on its own legs as an absotutely independent 
nation, if it became necessary. Swaraj within the Empire 
is a free state, a voluntary remaining in the Empire, ability 
to secede if India thought it desirable. Swaraj within the 



408 


YOUNG INDIA 


Empire must be a partnership at will between free nations- 
This is a vital position which cannot be surrendered. Even if 
those who are guiding the Congress at the present moment 
desired to alter the creed to mean Swaraj within the Empire 
only and therefore that of a subject State, the vast majority of 
Congressmen will decline to accept the humiliation. To aim 
at changing the creed in the direction desired by the^ Liberals 
and the Independents is to run counter to the present nationa 
temper. The only thing they can do is to join the Congress and 
attempt to convince Congressmen of the utility or the necessity 
of the change, even as Maulana Hasrat Mohani has been 
attempting to change the creecl so as to make independence of 
British connection the only goal of the Congress. 1 respectfully 
submit that there is nothing immoral or harmful in the present 
creed. On the contrary, the admission that, at the present 
moment at least, we are impotent for independence may be open 
to the gravest objection from an ethical standpoint. No nation 
that has the will, need be powerless for independence. In any 
case, I trust that all parties will recognise that the Congress has 
an electorate which can become insistent at times and that it is 
well that it is so. 

What status the Swarajists should hold in the Congress 
is really for them to determine. They and the No-changers 
today dominate the Congress. If the Congress suspends 
non-co-operation, the Swarajists perhaps ipso facto become 
predominant. And if both the parties decide in the 
national interest not to divide the Congress, they must be 
recognised as joint and equal partners. What I have done 
is to recognise this simple and natural fact in the Calcutta 
agreement. If any party desires more, it can be obtained only 
by joining the Congress and appealing to the reason of the 
Swarajists or by educating the Congress electorate, and also by 
forming new electorates. The scope for widening the Congress 
electorate is infinite, and practically anybody can form 
Congress circles, or committees, if he can find men and women 
of his way of thinking. 



SHALL WE UNITE? 


409 


The third objection is the franchise. If it were not for its 
novelty, it would not only not excite any surprise ; but it would 
ibe welcomed as the best franchise test. Had it been workmen 
who had been the most influential people and not capitalists or 
-educated men and a property or an education test had been 
proposed, the powerful workmen would have ridiculed the 
‘Suggestion and might have even called it immoral. For they 
would have argued that while capital or education were the 
possession of a few, bodily labour was common to all. My 
.suggestion to make one form of labour, /, hand-spinning the 
test, may be valueless, may be fantastical, but it is neither im- 
moral nor harmful to the nation. I hold that it is a positive 
.^ain to the nation, if thousands of men and women labour for 
the nation, even if it is for only half an hour every day. Nor 
need the wearing of khaddar dress cause any hindrance to any 
party entering the Congress. Khaddar has been given very 
.great importance in the Congress organisation for the past 
three years. 

Surely, there can be no insurmountable objection on 
principle to the wearing of khaddar as a franchise test Unless 
I am grievously mistaken, some of the best workers will find 
no zest in remaining in the Congress, if the wearing of khaddar 
and hand-spinning were not made a qualification for franchise. 
There are at present two parties in the Congress. One has no 
faith in the Council programme as a means for attaining 
.Swaraj and is satisfied with the khaddar activity, till the 
-■country is ready for peaceful disobedience or non-co-operation. 
The other, while claiming to believe in the economic value of 
khaddar believes that, if Swaraj cannot be gained through 
'Council entry, at the very least some steps may be taken 
towards it and some check might be placed upon bureaucratic 
extravagance. I can see my way to avoiding a quarrel with the 
.Swarajists by letting them go their way and by securing their 
■co-operation in the khaddar programme to the best of their 
ability. I would beseech the Liberals and the Independent^to 
appreciate the fact which one man cannot alter. But this is 



410 


yOUKG INDIA 


certaialy possible. Let the Swarajists, the Liberals and the 
Independents confer together and, if they come to the conclu- 
sion that khaddar is a spent bullet and that it is a mere mania 
of mine and if they do not succeed in convincing me of my 
error, I shall gladly stand out. I will not come in the way of 
their controlling and using the national organisation for what 
they may consider to be the best interest of the country. I 
have been told by a prominent Swarajist that the khaddar 
programme is doomed to fail and that the Swarajists do not 
believe in it at all. I told him I did not share his disbelief. 
I told him that the Swarajists had sincerely accepted it and 
that they would zealously work for it. But assuming that 
the friend’s prognostication is well founded and that the 
khaddar cult is a dividing factor in the public life, the sooner 
the country is disillusioned, the better for it. I must be per- 
mitted still to cling to it, so long as I do not lose faith in it. 
But I may not be allowed to stop all national activities. I 
therefore give my earnest assurance that I shall not wilfully 
stand in the way of any honourable means that may be desired 
by the committee for bringing all the parties together. I am 
deliberately putting myself under the influence of Swarajists,. 
Liberals and Independents. I am humbly trying to learn and 
understand their view-point. I have no axe of my own to grind.. 
I share their anxiety for the freedom of the country. My way 
is different from theirs. I would gladly go their way, if T could. 
Let all parties then make an honest and earnest effort to find a 
way out. Let them approach the deliberations of the com- 
mittee with faith and determination to find a common platform. 
Let them approach them with an open mind. 

A friend asks whether Congressmen should not postpone- 
the alteration of the franchise, pending the result of the All 
Parties Committee’s investigations. I respectfully submit that 
a well-thought-out programme cannot be lightly postponed. 
Three months’ solid work cannot be thrown away for fear that 
the khaddar programme may not be accepted by the Liberals* 
and the Independents. If, however, the Committee finds that 



THE NO-CHANGERS* PLIGHT 


411 


the khaddar programme is unworkable and really hinders real 
unity, the franchise can be easily amended by a special session. 
In my opinion, the interest of the country demands that each 
party should work out its own convictions, all the while allow- 
ing for possibility of error and consequent repentance and 
retracing. 


^7th November^ 19^4 
THE NO-CHANGERS* PLIGHT 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The position of No-changers is truly pathetic. The thought 
that I am largely if not wholly responsible for it makes me 
sad. My consolation — let it be theiPs also — is that I am pro- 
bably the most confirmed No-changer of all. But what is a 
No-changer ? It is an ugly word. It explains nothing. But it 
has been used to denote one, who swears by the original Non- 
co-operation Resolution passed at Calcutta in £920. Its opera- 
tive part is non-violence. We were non-co-operating even be- 
fore 1920 in that our minds were in revolt against the Govern- 
ment, whilst we seemed to co-operate with it by our conduct.. 
All this was changed in 1920. We endeavoured to establish 
co-operation between thought, word and deed. We discovered 
that such co-operation was possible only through non-violence. 
And we further discovered that, if we withdrew from the 
Government as much voluntary co-operation as was possible, 
it must capitulate to the people. A No-changer therefore is one 
who, not wishing ill to the governors but still seeking to destroy 
their system, renounced the'privileges (so-called) of the system,, 
viz. Councils, courts, schools, titles and tempting foreign cloth.. 
This was its negative part. Its positive and permanent part 
was establishment of independent schools, voluntary arbitration 
and manufacture of hand-spun yarn ’ and. from the latter of" 
hand-woven khaddar. The Congress took the place of the 
Central Legislature, and solid work by volunteer workers was- 



412 


YOUNG INDIA 


'itself the highest title. But the five Government institutions 
not having been destroyed, and the new ones not having shown 
any effective results, some of us lost heart and sought in the 
‘Councils a means of rendering national service. Now the No- 
^changers, if they had truly believed in non-violence, should not 
have been irritated over the lack of faith on the part of their 
'erstwhile co-workers. They should have given them the same 
'Credit for honesty and patriotism that they claimed for them- 
‘Selves. But they violently opposed their co-workers, who now 
*came to be called Swarajists. If they were truly non-violent, 
they would have been tolerant and have honoured them for their 
difference and allowed them to go their way. But their into- 
lerance was not their fault. They did not even know that they 
'Were intolerant. Instead of being self-reliant and having an 
-unquenchable faith in their own programme, they sought 
•strength from the Swarajists, even as we all, not wishing or 
being unable to overcome our vreaknesses, seek strength from 
'Our rulers. That mentality of helplessness still survives, and 
hence the dissatisfaction with the agreement. Have the No- 
'Changers real love for the Swarajists, even though they may 
not be all that they claim to be and even if they may be as bad 
:as some of us believe them to be ? If they have that love, they 
will not worry about what the Swarajists are doing. 

Again the vast majority of No-changers have no 
activity to absorb them the whole of their time, save 
khaddar. They must have a correct attitude about 
Hindu-Muslim relations and untouchability. But all cannot 
have any active work to do in regard to these items. The 
national schools can but absorb only a few workers and they 
^must have special qualifications. But khaddar is an activity 
that can absorb all the time of all available men and women 
*and grown up children, if they have faith. If they are truly 
non-violent, they must also realise that civil disobedience is an 
impossibility till tha preliminary work of construction is done. 
*Civil disobedience means capacity for unlimited suffering, 
^without the intoxicating excitement of killing. That cannot 



MAY GOD HELP 


413 '^ 


come tmtil we have attained a certain calmness in the atmos- 
phere, and until we have a reasonable certainty that Hindus^ 
and Mussalmans, Brahmans and Non-Brahmans, Caste-Hindns« 
and untouchables will not quarrel and until we have under- 
stood the secret of hand-spinning and hand-weaving to the 
extent, by their aid, of feeling independent of public support for 
workers. We may be only a few such or many. If we are 
many, we have ensured a calm atmosphere. If we are few, we 
must perish in the attempt to quench the conflagration raging, 
about us. If there are such no-changers, they cannot quarrel 
with the agreement. For it is but a method of finding out the 
number of unbending and unbendable No-changers — No- 
changers whose love will stand the severest test and whose 
faith in the triple constructive programme will, if necessary,, 
outlast the faithlessness of the rest of India. They stand in no- 
need of sympathy from any one. On the contrary it is I who 
need and ask for all the sympathy and support that they can 
give me. These consist in self-effacing, silent and sustained 
service without grumbling and without the expectation of 
reward, save the approbation of one’s own conscience. Let the 
reader be sure that there are such workers. They need no* 
introduction or advertisement through the pages of Young. 
India, 


27th Nooember, 1924 
MAY GOD HELP 
By M. K. Gandhi 

After much prayer, after much heart-searching, and not 
without fear and trembling, I have decided to accept the honour 
of presiding at the forthcoming Congress. I am to preside at a 
time when a gulf seems to be yawning between educated 
India and myself with some notable exceptions, and, save for a 
few young educated Indians of little fame, the intellect of the 
country seems to be ranged against my ways of thought and 



414 


YOUNG INDIA 


action. And yet as I seem to be popular with the masses, and 
as many educated countrymen believe me to be as good a lover 
of the country as themselves, they want me to direct the 
Congress at this critical juncture in the history of our country. 

I feel that I must not resist them. On the contrary, I must 
let myself be used, as I hope, for the benefit of the country. I 
was waiting, before coming to a final decision, for the verdict 
of the All India Congress Committee. At its meeting the 
Swarajists were eloquent by their silence. I know that many 
of them are not enthusiastic about the proposed alteration of 
the franchise. But for the sake of peace and unity, they gave 
their vote in silence in favour of the change. The No-changers 
were despondent, chafing at the surrender, as they felt it to be, 
of their cherished ideals. They protested, but they did not cast 
the vote against the agreement. 

This reflects credit on both the Swarajists and the 
No-changers, but it is no encouraging atmosphere to work 
in, especially when much is expected from one. But this is 
just the occasion for putting my faith in Ahimsa to the test. If 
I have equal love in me for No-changers, Swarajists, Liberals, 
National Home Rulers, Independents and for that matter 
Englishmen, I know that it is well for me and well also for the 
cause. 

I must not deceive the country. For me there is no politics 
without religion— not the religion of the superstitious and the 
blind religion that hates and fights, but the universal Religion 
of Toleration. Politics without morality is a thing to be avoided. 
Then ’ says the critic, ‘ I must retire from all public activity*! 
Such however is not my experience. I must try to live in 
society and yet remain untouched by its pitfalls. Any way, for 
me to run away from the Congress at the present moment 
would be cowardice— for me not to accept the Presidentship 
would be to run away, especially when everybody is trying to 
make the path smooth for me. 

I have abundant faith in my cause and humanity. Indian 
humanity is no worse than any other; possibly it is better. 



MAY GOD HELP 


415 


Indeed the cause presumes faith in human nature. Dark though 
the path appears, God will light it and guide my steps, if I have 
faith in His guidance and humility enough to acknowledge my 
helplessness without that infallible guidance. 

Though I remain a confirmed non-co-operator and civil 
resibter, I recognise that there is no atmosphere for non-co-opera- 
tion or civil disobedience on a national scale. My attempt will 
therefore be in the direction of bringing all parties together with- 
out distinction of race, or colour or creed on the ground of 
mutual toleration and thus to demonstrate if possible that the 
Congress non-co-operation was not conceived in or based on 
hate or malice. I would throw the burden on all the parties of 
making non-co-operation and civil disobedience impossible, not 
by criticism or repression, but by achieving Swaraj. I venture 
therefore to ask representatives of all the parties to respond to 
Maulana Mahomed AH's invitation to attend the Congress as 
visitors, when they cannot attend as delegates, and give the 
latter the benefit of their advice. 

There is a heavy duty resting on the shoulders of 
Congressmen, whether Swarajists or No-changers, Hindus or 
Mussulmans, Brahmans or Non-Brahmans. They have to show 
their programme on their persons and in their daily conduct. 
They will attend the Congress as servants and not as masters 
demanding service. They will show their faith in khaddar 
which they have been preaching for the past four years by 
wearing it to the exclusion of all other cloth. They will show 
their faith in unity between different religious sects and deno- 
minations by exercising the greatest forbearance against one 
another and showing respect for one another's religious 
•observances. Hindus will show their faith in the removal of 
untouchability by going out of their way to be attentive to 
.those of them who may attend the Congress. 

Delegates and visitors will no doubt expect me to prescribe 
remedies for our many ills, for Hindu-Muslim distemper, for 
the Bengal repression, for the relentless prosecution of the 
Akalis, for the Vaikom campaign on behalf of unapproachables 



416 


YOUNG INDIA 


and above all for the attainment of Swaraj. I have no patent 
remedy. The remedy is to be found with the delegates and the- 
visitors themselves. Like the finger-post, I can but point the 
way, it will be for Congressmen to take or reject it. May God 
help us all ! 


The following notes appeared in 'Young India' of 
4th December 1924. 


AT BELGAUM 

I should like workers to know that I am to preside at the* 
forthcoming Congress only as a businessman presides at 
business meetings. The demonstrative character of the 
Congress will be exemplified in its exhibition and other side- 
shows. And if we are to do any substantial business, workers* 
must frame a programme of work beforehand. If we are to do* 
this, all the workers should attend and give their help. This 
they cannot do unless they understand, appreciate and whole 
heartedly accept the agreement. I would not like their acceptance 
out of loyalty, whether they are Swarajists or No-changers. The- 
agreement is not for show. It has been arrived at not to* 
impress others but ourselves. Mere outward assent without 
inward conviction and co-operation would be worse than 
useless. So tar I have not received any criticism from Swarajists’ 
except by way of an appeal from some for not changing the 
franchise. But I am besieged with angry or sorrowful protests 
from No-changers. I am endeavouring so far as is possible 
for me to explain the position and solve doubts through these 
pages. But I know that there is nothing in the world like a* 
full and free chat. I was hardly able to do justice to the No- 
changers or myself at ' the hour's chat with them whilst the 
A. 1. C. C. was sitting. I am therefore setting apart the loth 
instant for a conference with No-changers at Belgaums which I 
hope to reach in the morning on that day. am asking Sjt.. 



AT BELGAUM 


417 


Gangadhar Rao Deshpande to avoid demonstration and let me 
enter Belgaum quietly so that no time may be wasted. I 
request all the No-changers, who wish to take part in the 
discussion, to attend this informal discussion. At the same 
time I would warn them against flooding Belgaum so early. 
The Congress sessions will not begin before the 26th instant. 
The Khilafat Conference does not begin before the 24th instant. 
The National Convention cannot be much earlier. I therefore 
suggested that the No-changers in each Province should 
select two or three as their spokesmen and representatives who 
should be fully armed with the views of the rest. The whole 
of the afternoon of the 20th can be given to interchange of 
views and there may be further discussion on the 2lst if need: 
be. I am corresponding with Deshabandhu Das and Pandit 
Motilalji Nehru to ask whether they would like me to have *a 
similiar discussion with the Swarajists. I would then gladly 
give a part of the 2lst solely to them. So far as the attendance 
of delegates is concerned, I do hope that there will be full 
attendance on the part of both the parties. For though so far 
as I am concerned I wish to carry no proposition of importance 
by party voting, I am anxious^to know the mind of the delegates. 
It would not be a proper discharge of their trust, if they stay 
away out of apathy, indifference or disgust. No one should 
offer himself as a delegate who does not wish to devote his time 
and attention to national work. Every delegate is therefore in 
duty bound to attend, if it is humanly possible, and help to 
shape the Congress policy for the coming year, 

BREACH OF FAITH ? 

It is a healthy sign of the times that there are people in the 
country who are jealous of the morals of the nation. A friend, 
not himself a Liberal, asks, ‘Was not the ratification of the 
agreement between the Swarajists and Gandhiji by the A. I. C. 
C. a breach of faith with the All Parties Conference ?.’ The 
answer, in my humble opinion, is an emphatic ‘No.’ The agree- 
ment is the basis of invitation. The two wings of the Congress 
27 



418 


YOUNG INDIA 


must first unite. In the absence of the Congress, that unity can 
be expressed by the A. L C. C. The agreement is final so far 
as the two wings of the Congress are concerned. But it is open 
to attack and even to revision at the instance of any outside 
party. The attack can succeed only if it appeals to the reason 
•of both the wings. No party is called upon to surrender its 
principle for the sake of unity. The agreement now ratified by 
the A. I. C. C. is not an ultimatum, — either this or nothing. 
There are many things outside the agreement which all the 
parties have to consider. Congressmen are not expected to 
suspend their principles or policy pending decision of the All 
Parties Conference. But they are expected to keep an open 
mind on everything. They must approach the question with a 
receptive mind. Subject to that one essential condition, it is 
better that all parties declare their principles, policies and in- 
tentions. There should be no mental reservations. Not to pro- 
ceed with the ratification of the agreement would have meant a 
mental reservation. What we must aim at is the same spirit 
of toleration that we need and are striving after in the relations 
between Hindus and Mussalmans. We want to unite and respect 
one another in spite of the sharpest differences of opinion, 
that is to say, if we have a common goal to pursue. We may 
find to our great grief that there is no common goal, that 
Swaraj does not mean the same thing in any of its aspects to 
all parties, that our interests are not the same. Then I admit 
there is no uniting of all parties on the Congress platform. 
But that would be the same thing as saying tliat there is no 
Swaraj for poor India. For after all when Swaraj comes, 
different parties will work in the same Swaraj Parliament. The 
Congress is intended to be a forerunner and prototype of such a 
Parliament. 

AN IMPORTANT OMISSION 

Pandit Motilalji says that an important reference in ray 
speech at the recent A. I. C. C. meeting about the propriety of 
an appeal by the Swaraj Party for support has been omitted in 



NOT EVEN HALF-MAST 


419 


the reports published in the press. It was undoubtedly impor- 
tant and I wanted it to be reported. I therefore gladb’' give 
below the purport : 

“The Swarajists have a perfect right to strengthen and 
organise themselves and to appeal for support to the country, 
not excluding the No-changers. If non-co-operation is suspend- 
ed, and the Swaraj Party has the same status as the No-changers 
in the Congress, the latter may not object to such propaganda. 
Indeed it would be improper to do so. Such in my oppinion is 
the undoubted implication of the suspension of non-co-operation. 
This does not mean that whole-hoggers should join the Swaraj 
Party. As Deshabandu had a perfect right to do, he invited 
me to join the party. I told him I could not, so long as I had 
no faith in council entry. I could only help from outside. Nor 
could any other true No-changer join. But those who have no 
such scruples and remain out, only because the Congress pro- 
gramme stands, may certainly join the Swaraj Party without 
any interference from No-changers. The latter’s propaganda 
.against councils cannot be vocal ; their ceaseless work on the 
rcharkha must speak for itself. The Swarajists have both the 
councils and the charkha. No-changers have nothing but the 
*eharkha to swear by. ” 


4th December^ 1924 
NOT EVEN HALF-MAST 
By M. K. Gandhi 

The perplexity of No-changers continues unabated. Some 
•of the best among them, those whose advice and co-operation I 
value above everything else, are bewildered. They feel that I 
have probably given up even lifelong principles for a patch- 
work. One such communication I quote below ; — 

“You are reported to have said that not having the 
power to give battle to the Swarajists immediately, you are 
forbearing, marking time. But why thus The cause o 



420 


YO-DNG INDIA. 


truth and non-violence demands that you keep the flag 
flying for us collectively outside the Swaraj Party and the 
Congress, in no spirit of hostility to anybody, even as- 
Muhammad did. His followers dwindled to three depend- 
ing upon the holy God’s strength. Personally you undoub- 
tedly gain by surrendering and helping opponents, but the 
cause suffers irretrievably when non-co-operators are 
neither asked nor allowed to hoist the flag collectively. No 
spiritually minded man can take interest in politics which 
neither promotes nor draws sustenance from truth and 
non-violence. No strategic unity will attract God, because 
fight with the Government then becomes immoral. 
Further, under the Swarajists regime there will be nothing 
to purify the criminal tendencies of impatient idealists as- 
unddr your previous regime of high moral idealism and 
spiritual endeavour. Now utter futility and blank despair 
will stare them in the face. ” 

The friend represents a large body of non -co-operators. He 
himself was attracted to the struggle because of its spiritual' 
nature. I have therefore carefully read the message more than 
once. My hope is that he has formed judgment on garbled,, 
even misleading, reports of my speeches. He was not present 
at the Conference. He was not in Bombay. It is most difficult 
to follow any movement merely from’ newspaper reports. I have 
not seen the report to which the friend makes reference. The 
expression ‘giving battle to the Swarajists torn from its con- 
text, may bear a meaning opposite to the one intended by me. 
Let me explain. I cannot give battle to the Swarajists, if they 
misunderstand me, if No-changers do not understand the spirit 
in which a battle of non-violence conceived in a humble spirit can 
be offered, if the Government takes of such a battle advantage 
not contemplated by me, or if the atmosphere required for it 
is wanting. What happened in fact is that all these 
things have more or less come about. Let it be further 
remembered that with me the safety of the cause has fiot 
lain in numbers. My so-called popularity has been perhaps 



NOT EVEN HALF-MAST 


431 


‘the greatest stumbling block in the swift execution of my 
plans. I should not have done penance either for the 
Bombay riots or Chauri Chaura if the people who took 
part in them had been utter strangers to me and 
made no profession of non-violence. So long therefore as I 
•continue to attract crowds, I live to walk warily. A general 
with a large army cannot march as swiftly as he would like to. 
He has to take note of all the different units in his army. My 
position is not very unlike such a general’s. It is not a happy 
position, but it is there. If it often means strength, it sometimes 
means a positive hindrance. It is perhaps now clear what I 
mean by * not having the power to give battle to the Swarajists.’ 

I have in no way ‘ lowered the flag ’ of non-co-operation. It 
is not even brought half-mast. For not a single non-co-opera- 
.tor is called upon to deny his faith. It is always risky to bring 
in the illustrations of the great prophets or religious teachers 
•of the world. I am in the world feeling my way to light 'amid 
,the encircling gloom.’ I often err and miscalculate. But since 
the great Prophet’s name has been mentioned in this connec- 
tion, I may in all humility say that I am not without hope that 
I shall not be found wanting if I am left with but two human 
comrades or without any. My trust is solely in God. And I 
trust men only because I trust God. If I had no God to rely 
upon, I should be like Timon a hater of my species. But if we 
are to dra-w a moral from the lives of the great teachers, let us 
also remember that the Prophet entered into treaty with those 
with whom he had little in common and who are described in 
.scathing terms in the Koran. Non-co-operation, exodus, resis- 
tance and even violence were with the Prophet phases in the 
same battle of life wherein truth was everything. 

I do not believe as the friend seems to do that an indivi- 
rdual may gain spiritually and those who surround him suffer. I 
believe in advaita, I believe in the essential unity of man and 
for that matter of all that lives. Therefore 1 believe that if 
one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and 
Ilf one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent. I do not 



422 


YOUNG INDIA 


help opponents without at the same time helping myself and my 
co-workers. I have not asked or advised believing non-co-opera- 
tors not to ‘ hoist their dag ’ either collectively or individually^ 
On the contrary" I expect them to keep it flying top-mast against 
all odds. But that does not mean that the nation or the Con- 
gress non-co-operates. What we must recognise, if we will not 
ignore facts, is that the nation. /. e., the Congress in so far as 
it represents the nation, is not carrying out the programme of 
non-co-operation. It must therefore be confined to individuals. 
Non-co-operating ex-lawyers, ex-title-holders, ex-school-masters,, 
ex-councillors may remain that to the full and still belong to the 
Congress. Their special programme is hand-spinning and 
Khadi. These the Congress has not yet rejected. The Swara- 
jists are gracefully accommodating No-changers in this respect 
to the fullest extent compatible with their convictions. They do- 
not consider as No-changers do, that universalising hand-spin- 
ning is necessar>^for accelerating the exclusion of foreign cloth.. 
And yet in order to retain the co-operation of No-changers,, 
if you will, my co-operation, they, seeing that they have no ob- 
jection on principle to hand-spinning, have become party to its- 
introduction in the franchise. It is well to bear in mind that 
the introduction of hand-spinning as part of the fran- 
chise is an extraordinary proposal. A conscientious man 
like Mr. Stokes opposes it tooth and nail, although he is- 
himself an enthusiastic spinner. Many of our distinguished 
countiy’-men laugh at it. It is no small thing then that the 
Swarajists have accepted. Therefore if they prove true to their 
word (and I have no reason to doubt it), nonrco-operators do not 
need any separate organisation. The NGK:ha'ngerS' need not, 
ought not, to take part in the council activity and therefore the 
Swarajists have the sole authority and consequently sole 
responsibility for the council programme. They will use the 
name of the Congress as of right but they will not therefore use 
the name of the No-changers, The Congress is a joint concern, 
in which the liability and responsibility for certain items are joint, 
and for particular activity given to and taken over by a section.. 



NOT EVEN HALF-MAST 


425 


If unity, removal of untouchability and the charkha are an 
integral part of the politics of this country, then No-changers- 
have all the truth, all the non-violence and all the spirituality 
that they may wish for. A No-changer’s fight with the 
Government consists chiefly in purifying himself and develop- 
ing his own strength. But he must not by any act of his 
impair the power of the Swarajists whom he is bound to regard 
as honest as himself. A No-changer should be the last person 
to arrogate sanctity for himself to the exclusion of others. And 
granting that the Swarajist system is bad, let him not act as if 
the existing system of Government is not much worse. Even 
a believer in non-violence has to szy between two combatants 
which is less bad or whose cause is just. Between Japan and 
Russia, Tolstoy gave his verdict for Japan. Between England 
and Dutch South Africa, "W . T. Stead sided with the Boers and 
prayed for England’s defeat. Between Swarajists and the 
Government, I do not take a single second to make my choice* 
There is danger of our vision being blurred because of the 
Swarajist revolt against the programme of 1920. Assume for 
the moment that the Swarajists are as bad as the Government 
would have us believe, even so their government will be infinitely 
preferable to a government which has limitless resources for 
crushing the slightest attempt at independence of conduct or 
real resistance. I am not aiming at any 'strategic' unity. I am 
simply aiming at representation of all parties in the Congress, 
so that we may learn to tolerate one another’s opinions, we may 
know one another better, we may react upon one another and,, 
if we cannot find a common method of execution, we may at 
least frame a common scheme cf Swaraj. 

I agree with the friend in his concluding remarks that it 
is not the council programme that will ultimately keep the 
impatient idealist from mischief, but it is the non-violent non- 
co-operation which evokes the highest spirit of self-sacrifice 
that will wean him from the error of his ways. I promise that 
I have done nothing to weaken the strong non-co-operator* 
With myself, I have put him on his mettle. Let him sacrifice 



424 


YOUNG INDIA. 


himself to the utmost on the altar of unadulterated love and 
the whole Congress will follow him like one man. But such love 
acts in an unseen manner. The more efficient a force is, the 
more silent and the more subtle it is. Love is the subtlest 
force in the world. If the No-changer has it in him, it is well 
with him and every one else. 


26th December^ 1924 
CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 

Friends, 

It was after much misgiving that I accepted the burden of 
the honour you have done me today. The unique honour for 
this year should have been bestowed upon Shrimati Sarojini 
Naidu, who did such wonderful work both in Kenya and South 
Africa. But it was not to be. The developments both internal 
and external have necessitated my acceptance of the burden. I 
know that I shall have your support in my attempt to do justice 
to the high office to which you have called me. 

At the outset, let me note with respectful feelings the 
deaths during the year of Bi Amman, Sir Asutosh Mukherji, 
Mr. Bhupendra Nath Basu, Dr. Subramaniam Iyer and Mr. 
Dal Bahadur Giri at home, and of Messrs. Rustomjee and 
P. K. Naidu in South Africa. I tender in your name my res- 
pectful condolences to the bereaved families. 

Retrospective 

From the September of 1920 the Congress has been princi- 
pally an institution for developing strength from within. It has 
ceased to function by means of resolutions addressed to the 
Government "for redress of grievances. It did. so, because it 
ceased to believe in the beneficial character of the existing 
system of government. The breach of faith with the Mussulmans 
of India was the first rude shock to the people’s faith in the 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 425 

'Government. The Rowlatt Act and O’Dwyerism culminating 
in the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, opened the eyes of the people 
to the true nature of the system. At the same time it was 
realised that the existence of the system depended upon the 
‘ co-operation whether conscious or unconcious, and whether 
voluntary or forced, of the people. With the view therefore of 
mending or ending the system it was decided to try to begin 
withdrawing voluntary co-operation from the top. At the 
.Special Session of the Congress at Calcutta in 1920 the boycott 
of Government titles, law-courts, educational institutions, 
legislative bodies and foreign cloth was resolved upon. All the 
boycotts were more or less taken up by the parties concerned- 
Those who could not or would not, retired from the Cong- 
ress. I do not propose to trace the chequered career of 
-the non-co-operation movement. Though not a single boycott 
was anywhere near completion, every one of them had un- 
♦doubtedly the effect of diminishing the prestige of the particular 
institution boycotted. 

The most important boycott was the boycott of violence. 
Whilst it appeared at one time to be entirely successful, it was 
soon discovered that the non-violence was only skin-deep. It 
was the passive non-violence of helplessness, not the enlighten- 
«ed non-violence of resourcefulness. The result was an eruption 
of intolerance against those who did not non-co-operate. This 
was violence of a subtler type. In spite, however, of this grave 
‘defect I make bold to say that the propaganda of non-violence 
‘Checked the outbreak of physical violence which would certainly 
have broken out, had not non-violent non-co-operation come 
into being. It is my deliberate conviction that non-violent 
non-co-operation has given to the people a consciousness of 
their strength. It has brought to the surface the hidden 
powers in the people of resistance through suffering. It has 
•caused an awakening among the masses which perhaps no 
•other method could have. 

Though, therefore, non-violent non-co-operation has not 
tbrought us Swaraj, though it has brought certain deplorable re 



426 


YOUNG INDIA 


suits and though the institutions that were sought to be boycott- 
ed are still flourishing, in my humble opinion, non-violent non- 
co-operation as a means of attaining political freedom has come 
to stay and that even its partial success has brought us nearer 
Swaraj. There is no mistaking the fact that the capacity for 
suffering for the sake of a cause must advance it, 

A Halt 

But we are face to face with a situation that compels us to cry 
halt. For whilst individuals hold firmly to their belief in non-co- 
operation, the majority of those who are immediately concerned 
have practically lost faith in it, with the exception of boycott of 
foreign cloth. Scores of lawyers have resumed practice. Some 
even regret having ever given it up. Many who had given up 
Councils have returned to them and the number of those who 
believe in Council entry is on the increase. Hundreds of boys 
and girls who gave up Government schools and colleges have 
repented of their action and have returned to them. I hear 
that Government schools and colleges can hardly cope with the 
demand for admission. In these circumstances these boycotts- 
cannot be worked as part of the National programme, unless- 
the Congress is prepared to do without the classes directly 
affected. But I hold it to be just as impracticable to keep these 
classes out of the Congress as it would be now to keep the non-^- 
co-operators out. They must both remain in the Congress,, 
without either party interfering with or hostilely criticising the 
other. What is applicable to Hindu Muslim unity is, I feeU 
applicable to the unity among different political groups. We 
must tolerate each other and trust to time to convert the 
one or the other to the opposite belief. We must go further. 
We must plead with the Liberals and others who have seceded 
to rejoin the Congress. If non-co-operation is suspended,, 
there is no reason why they should keep out. The advance 
must be from us Congressmen. We must cordially invite themi 
and make it easy for them to come in. 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 427 

You are perhaps now able to see why I entered into the“ 
agreement with the Swarajists. 

Foreign Cloth Boycott 

You will observe that one boycott has been retained. Out 
of regard for the sentiment of an English friend the word ^Boy- 
cott’ has been changed in the agreement into ‘refusal to use 
foreign cloth.’ There is no doubt a bad odour about the word 
‘Boycott.’ It usually implies hatred. So far as I am concerned. 
I have not intended the word to bear any such meaning. The 
boycott has reference not to British but to foreign cloth. That 
boycott is not merely a right but a duty. It is as much a duty 
as boycott of foreign waters would be if they were imported to 
substitute the waters of the Indian rivers. This, however, is a 
digression. 

What I wanted to say was that the agreement saves and 
emphasises the boycott of foreign cloth. For me it is an effective 
substitute for violent methods. Just as certain acts such as. 
personal abuse, irritating conduct, lying, causing hurt and. 
murder are symbols of violence, similarly courtes 3 % inoffensive 
conduct, truthfulness etc. are symbols of non-violence. And so* 
to me is boycott of foreign cloth a symbol of non-violence. 
Revolutionary crime is intended to exert pressure. But it is the 
insane pressure of anger and ill-will. I contend that non-- 
violent acts exert pressure far more effective than violent acts;, 
for that pressure comes from good-will and gentleness. Boy- 
cott of foreign cloth exerts such pressure. W'e import the 
largest amount of foreign cloth from Lancashire. It is also by 
far the largest of all our imports, sugar being next. Britain’s - 
chief interest centres round the Lancashire trade with 
India. It is the one thing more than any other that has ruined, 
the Indian peasant and imposed partial idleness upon him by 
depriving him of the one supplementary occupation he had. 
Boycott of foreign cloth is therefore a necessity if he is to live,- 
The plan therefore, is not merely to induce the peasant to* 



428 


YOUNG INDIA 


refuse to buy the cheap and nice-looking foreign fabric but 
also by teaching him to utilize his spare hours in carding and 
•spinning cotton and getting it woven by the village weavers to 
'dress himself in khaddar so woven and thus to save him the 

• cost of buying foreign and for that matter even Indian mill- 
•made cloth. Thus boycott of foreign cloth bv means of hand- 
‘Spinning and hand-weaving, i.e. khaddar not only saves the 
peasant’s money, but it enables us workers to render social 
‘Service of a first class order. It brings us into direct touch 
with the villagers. It enables us to give them real political 
education and teach them to become self-sustained ‘and self- 
reliant. Organisation of khaddar is thus infinitely better than 

• co-operative societies or any other form of village organisation. 
4t is fraught with the highest political consequence, because it 
•removes the greatest immoral temptation from Britain’s way. 
I call the Lancashire trade immoral, because it was raised and 
•is sustained on the ruin of millions of India’s peasants. And as 
one immorality leads to another, the many proved immqral 
acts of Britain are traceable to this one immoral traffic. If 
therefore this one g^eat temptation is removed from Britain’s 
path by India’s voluntary effort, it would be good for India, 
good for Britain and, as Britain is today the predominent world 
power, good even for humanity. 

I do not endorse the proposition that supply follows de- 
mand. On the contrary, demand is often artificially created by 
unscrupulous vendors. And if a nation is bound, as I hold it 
is, like individuals to comply with a code of moral conduct, 
Tthen it must consider the welfare of those whose wants it seeks 
to supply. It is wrong and immoral for a nation to suppl}?, for 
mstance, intoxicating liquor to those who are addicted to drink. 
What is true of intoxicants is true of grain or cloth, if the dis- 
ftcontinuanceof their cultivation or manufacture in the country 
to which foreign grain or cloth are exported results in enforced 
idleness or penury. These latter hurt a man’s soul and body 
j'ust as much as intoxication. Depression is but excitement 
vupside down and hence equally disastrous in its results and 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 42^ 


often more so because we have not yet learnt to regard as* 
immoral or sinful the depression of idleness or penury. 

Britain s Duty 

It is then I hold the duty of Great Britain to regulate her 
exports with due regard to the welfare of India, as it is India’s to • 
regulate her imports with due regard to her own welfare. That 
economics is untrue which ignores or disregards moralValues.. 
The extension of the law of non-violence in the domain of econo- 
mics means nothing less than the introduction of moral values- 
as a factor to be considered in regulating international commerce. 
And I must confess that my ambition is nothing less than to 
see international relations placed on a moral basis through 
India’s efforts. I do not despair of cultivation of limited mass 
non-violence. I refuse to believe that the tendency of human 
nature is always downward. 

The fruition of the boycott of foreign cloth through hand- 
spinning and khaddar is calculated not only to bring about a 
political result of the first magnitude, it is calculated also to 
make the poorest of India, whether men or women, conscious 
of their strength and make them partakers in the struggle for 
India’s freedom. 

Foreign v. British 

It is hardly necessary now to demonstrate the futility,, 
not to say the violent nature, of boycott of British cloth or 
better still British goods as so many patriots have suggest- 
ed. I am considering the boycott purely from the point 
of view of India’s good. All British goods do not harm 
us. Some goods such as English books we need for our* 
intellectual or spiritual benefit. As regards cloth, it is not 
merely British cloth that harms us, but all foreign cloth, and 
for that matter to a lesser extent even mill-made cloth injures 
us. Boycott brought about anyhow of British cloth cannot 
yield the same results as such boycott brought about by hand- 
spinning and khaddar. This necessitates exclusion at least 



430 


YOUNG INDIA 


•of all foreign cloth. The exclusion is not intended as a punish- 
.ment. It is a necessity of national existence. 

Objections Considered 

But, say the critics, the spinning «dieel has not taken, it is 
not exciting* enough, it is an occupation only for women, it 
means a return to the middle ages, it is a vain effort against the 
majestic march of scientific knowledge for which machinery 
stands. In my humble opinion India’s need is not excitement 
but solid work. For the millions solid work itself is excitement 
and tonic at the 5ame time. The fact is that we have not given 
the spinning wheel enough trial. I am sorry to have to say that 
many of us have not given it a serious thought. Even the 
members of the All-India Congress Committee have failed to 
•carry out the series of resolutions on hand-spinning which 
they themselves have passed from time to time. The majority 
•of us have simply not believed in it. In the circumstances, it 
is hardly just to say that spinning has failed for want of excite- 
ment about it. To say that it is merely an old woman’s occupa- 
tion is to ignore facts. Spinning mills are a multiplication of 
spinning wheels. They are managed by men. It is time that 
we got out of this superstition that some occupations are 
beneath the dignity of men. Under normal conditions no doubt 
spinning will be the occupation of the gentle sex. But the 
State of the future will always have to keep some men at the 
spinning wheel so as to make improvements in it within the 
limitations which as a cottage industry it must have. I must 
inform you that the progress the mechanism of the wheel has 
made would have been impossible, if some of us men had not 
worked at it and had not thought about it day and night. 

Machinery 

I wish, too, you would dismiss from your minds the views 
.attributed to me about machinery. In the first instance, I am 
no more trying to present for national acceptance all my views 
*on machinery, than I am presenting the whole of my belief in 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 431 


non-violence. The spinning wheel is itself an exquiste piece of 
machinery. My head daily bows in Reverence to its unknown 
inventor. What I do resent is the w'^anton and wicked destruc- 
tion of the one cottage industry of India that kept the wolf from 
the doors of thousands of homes scattered over a surface 
1900 miles long and 1500 miles broad. 

Spinning Franchise 

You will not now wonder at my passion for the spinning 
wheel, nor will you wonder why I have ventured to present it 
for introduction in the franchise, and why Pandit Motilal 
Nehru and Deshbandhu Das have accepted it on behalf of the 
Swaraj Party. If I had my way, there would be no one on the 
Congress register who is unwilling to spin or who would not 
\wear khaddar on all occasions. I am however thankful for 
what the Swaraj Party has accepted. The modification is a 
‘Concession to weakness or want of faith. But it must serve as 
.a spur to greater effort on the part of those who have full faith 
in the wheel and khaddar. 

No other Message 

I have thus dilated upon the spinning wheel bcause I 
have no better or other message for the nation. I know no 
other effective method for the attainment of Swaraj if it is to be 
by ‘peaceful and legitimate means’. As I have already 
remarked it is the only substitute for violence that can be 
accepted by the whole nation. I swear by Civil Disobedience. 
But Civil Disobedience for the attainment of Swaraj is an 
impossibility unless and until we have attained the power of 
achieving boycott of foreign cloth. You will now easily perceive 
why I should be a useless guide for the Congress if my views 
about the spinning wheel are not acceptable to you. Indeed 
you would be justified in regarding me as some friends do ,as a 
hindrance to national progress, if you consider me to be wrong 
in my exposition of the doctrine underlying the spinning wheel. 
If it does not appeal to your heads as well as your hearts, you 
will be wanting in your duty in not rejecting my lead. Let 



432 


YOUNG INDIA 


it no longer be said, as Lord Willingdon very properly once* 
said of us, that we had not the strength and courage to say ‘No’.. 
Indeed your rejection of my proposal, if you do not believe in 
it, will be a step towards Swaraj. 

HiiLda-Maslim Uidtii 

Hindu Muslim unity is not less important than the 
spinning wheel. It is the breath of our life. I do not need to^ 
occupy much of your time on this question, because the 
necessity of it for Swaraj is almost universally" accepted. I 
say ‘almost’ because I know some Hindus and some Mussal- 
mans who prefer the present condition of dependence on Great 
Britain if they cannot have either wholly Hindu or wholly 
Mussalman India. Happily their number is small. 

I share Maulana Shaukat Ali’s robust optimism that the 
present tension is a mere temporary distemper. The Khilafat 
agitation in which Hindus made common cause with their* 
Mussalman brethren and the non-co-operation that followed it 
caused an awakening among the hitherto slumbering masses- 
It has given a new consciousness to the clashes as well as the 
masses. Interested persons who were disappointed during the 
palmy days of non-co-operation, now that it has lost the charm: 
of novelty, have found their opportunity and are trading upon 
the religious bigotry or the selfishness of both the communities.. 
The result is written in the history of the feuds of the past two- 
years. Religion has been travestied. Trifles have been dignified 
by the name of religious tenets which, the fanatics claim, must 
be observed at any cost. Economic and political causes have 
been brought into play for the sake of fomenting trouble. The 
culminating point was reached in Kohat. The tragedy was- 
aggravated by the callous indifference of the local authority. I 
must not tarry to examine the causes or to distribute the blame. 

I have not the material for the task even if I was minded for it. 
Suffice it to say that the Hindu refugees fled for 
fear of their lives. There is in Kohat an overwhelming. 
Mussalman majority. They have in so far as is possible under- 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 433; 

a foreign domination effective political control. It is up to- 
them, therefore, to show that the Hindus are as safe in the 
midst of their majority, as they would be if the whole popula- 
tion of Zohat was Hindu. The Mussulmans of Kohat may not 
rest satisfied till they have brought back to Kohat every one of 
the refugees. I hope that the Hindus would not fall into the 
trap laid for them by the Government and would resolutely 
decline to go back till the Mussalmans of Kohat have given 
them full assurances as to their lives aid property. 

The Hindus can live in the midst of an overwhelming 
Mussalman majority only if the latter are willing to receive 
and treat them as friends and equals, just as Mussalmans, 
if in a minority, must depend for honourable existence in 
the midst of a Hindu majority on the latter’s friend- 
liness. A Government can give protection against thieves and 
robbers, but not even a Swaraj Government will be able to- 
protect people against a wholesale boycott by one community 
of another. Governments can deal with abnormal situations. 
When quarrels become a normal thing of life, it is called civil 
war and parties must fight it out themselves. The present 
Government being foreign, in reality a veiled military rule, has 
resources at its command for its protection against any 
combination we can make and has, therefore, the power, if it 
has the will, to deal with our class feuds. But no Swaraj 
Government with any pretension to being a popular Govern- 
ment can possibly be organised and maintained on a war 
footing. A Swaraj Government means a Government establish- 
ed by the free joint-will of Hindus, Mussalmans and others. 
Hindus and Mussalmans, if they desire Swaraj, have perforce 
to settle their differences amicably. 

The Unitjr Conference at Delhi has paved the way for a 
settlement of religious differences. The Committee of the All 
Parties’ Conference is among other things expected to find a 
workable and just solution of the political differences not only 
between Hindus and Mussalmans but between all classes and 
all castes, sects or denominations. Our goal must be removal^ 



434 


YOUNG INDIA 


at the earliest possible moment, of communal or sectional re- 
presentation. A common electorate must impartially elect its 
representatives on the sole ground of merit. Our services 
must be likewise impartially manned by the most qualified men 
and women. But till that time comes and communal jealousies 
or preference become a thing* of the past, minorities who sus- 
pect the motives of majorities must be allowed their way. The 
majorities must set the example of self-sacrifice. 

UvtoiLchabilihj 

Untouchability is another hindrance to Swaraj. Its remo- 
val is just as* essential for Swaraj, as the attainment of Hindu- 
Muslim unity. This is an essentially Hindu question and 
Hindus cannot claim or take Swaraj till they have restored the 
liberty of tlie suppressed classes. They have sunk with the 
latter’s suppression. Historians tell us that the Aryan invaders 
treated the original inhabitants of Hindusthan precisely as the 
English invaders treat us, if not much worse. If so, our helot- 
ry is a just retribution for our having created an untouchable 
class. The sooner we remov^e the blot, the better it is for us 
Hindus. But the priests tell us that untouchability is a divine 
appointment. I claim to know something of Hinduism. I am 
certain that the priests are wrong. It is a blasphemy to say 
that God set apart any portion of humanity as unto^ichable. 
And Hindus who are Congressmen have to see to it that they 
break down the barrier at the earliest possible moment. The 
Vaikom Satyagrahis are showing us the way. They are carry- 
ing on their battle with gentleness and firmness. They have 
patience, courage and faith. Any movement in which these 
qualities are exhibited becomes irresistible. 

I would however warn the Hindu brethern against the 
tendency w'hich one sees nowadays of exploiting the suppressed 
classes for political end. To remove untouchability is a penance 
that caste Hindus owe to Hinduism and to themselves. The 
purification required is not of untouchables but of the so-called 
superior erstes. There is no vice that is special to the un- 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 435 

touchables, not even dirt and insanitation. It is our arrogance 
which blinds us ‘superior’ Hindus to our own blemishes and 
which magnifies those 01 our downtrodden breihern whom we 
have suppressed and whom we keep under suppression. 
Religions like nations are being weighed in the balance, God’s 
grace and revelation are the monopoly of no race or nation. 
They descend equally upon all who wail upon God. That 
religion and that nation will be blotted out of the face of the 
earth which pins its faith to injustice, untruth or violence. 
God is Light, not darkness. God is love, not hate. God is 
Truth, not untruth. God alone is great. We His creatures 
are but dust. Let us be humble and recognise the place of 
the lowliest of His creatures. Krishna honoured Sudama in his 
rags as he honoured no one else. Love is the root of sacrifice 
and this perishable body is the root of self or irreligion, says 
Tulsidas. Whether we win Swara} or not, the Hindus have 
to purify themselves before they can hope to revive ihc \"edic 
lohilosophy and make it a living reality. 

Swaraj Scheme 

But the spinning wheel, Hindu Muslim unity and removal 
of untouchability are only means to an end. The end we do 
not know. For me it is enough to know the means. Means 
and end are convertible terms in my philosophy of life. But I 
have long professed my conversion to the view pressed upon 
the public by Babu Bhagavan Das that the public must 
hnow the end, not vaguely but precisely. They must know 
the full definition of Swaraj, i. e. the scheme of Swaraj 
which all India wants and must fight for. Happily the 
Committee appointed by the All Parties’ Conference is charged 
with.that .mission and let us hope that the Committee will be 
able to produce a scheme that will'be acceptable to all parties. 
May I suggest for its consideration the following points ? 

I. The qualification for the franchise should be neither 
property nor position but manual work, such for example, as 
suggested for the Congress Franchise. Literary or property 



436 


YOUNG INDIA 


test has proved to be elusive. Manual work^gives an opportu- 
nity to all who wish to take part in the government and the- 
well-being of the Sate. 

2. The ruinous military expenditure should be curtailed 
to the proportion necessary’ for protection of life and propert}- 
in normal times. 

3. Administratipn of justice should be cheapened and with 
that end in view the final court of appeal should be not in 
London but in Delhi. Parties to civil suits must be compelled 
in the majority of cases to refer their disputes to arbitration^ 
the decisions of the Panchayats to be final except in cases of 
corruption or obvious misapplication of law. Multiplicit5r of 
intermediate courts shoud be avoided. Case law should be 
abolished and the general procedure should be simplified. We- 
have slavishly followed the cumbrous and worn out English 
procedure. The tendency in the Colonies is to simplify the 
procedure so as to make it easy for litigants to plead their own 
cases. 

4. Revenues from intoxicating liquors and drugs should 
be abolished. 

5. Salaries of the Civil and Military Service should be 
brought down to a level compatible with the general condition 
of the country. 

6. There should be re-distribution bf provinces on a- 
linguistic basis with as complete autonomy as possible for every 
province for its internal administration and growth. 

7. Appointment of a commission to examine all the- 
monopolies given to foreigners and, subject to the findings of 
the commission, full guarantees to be given for all vested rights 
justly acquired. 

8. Full guarantee of their status to the Indian Chiefs with- 
out any hindrance from the Central Government subject to the 
the right of asylum to subjects of these States who, not being 
offenders against the Penal Code, may seek it in Self-governing, 
India. 

9. Repeal of all arbitrary powers. 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 437 

10. The highest post to be open to all who may be other- 
wise fit. Examinations for the Civil and Military Services to 
be in India. 

11. Recognition of complete religious freedom to various 
denominations subject to mutual forbearance. 

12. The official language for provincial governments, legis- 
latures and courts, within a definite period, to be the vernacular 
■of the province ; of the Privy Council, the final court of appeal, 
to be Hindustani ; the script to be either Devanagari or Persian. 
The language of the Central Government and of the Central 
Legislature to be also Hindustani. The language of inter- 
national diplomacy to be English. 

I trust you will not laugh at what may appear to you to 
be extravagance of thought in the foregoing sketch of some 
-of the requirements of Swaraj as I would have it. We may not 
have the power today to take or receive or do things I have 
mentioned. Have we the will? Let us at least cultivate the desire. 
Before I leave this highly attractive, because speculative, theme 
let me assure the Committee in charge of the drafting of a 
Svvaraj scheme, that I claim for my suggestion no more 
■attention than it would give to any single individuaPs. I have 
incorporated them in ray address only to gain greater currency 
for them than they would perhaps otherwise receive. 

Independence 

The above sketch presupposes the retention of the British 
connection on perfectly honourable and absolutely equal terms. 
But 1 know that there is a section among Congressmen who 
want under every conceivable circumstance complete indepen- 
dence of Britain. They will not have even an equal partnership. 
In my opinion if the British Government mean what they say 
and honestly help us to equality, it would be a greater triumph 
than a complete severance of the British connectioi:». I would 
therefore strive for Swaraj within the Empire, but would not 
hesitate to sever all connection, if severance became a necessity 
through Britain’s own fault. I would thus throw the burden of 



438 


YOUNG INDIA 


stjparation on *ihe British people. The better mind of the world 
desires today not absolutely independent States warring one 
against another but a federation of friendly inter-dcpehclent 
States. The consummation of that event may be far off. I 
want to make no grand claim for our country. But I see 
nothing grand or impossible about our expressing our readiness 
for universal iiiter-dependence rather than independence. It 
should rest w ith Britain to say that she will have no real 
alliance with India. I desire the ability to be totally indepen- 
dent without asserting the independence. Any scheme that I 
would frame, while Britain declares her goal about India to be 
complete equality within the Empire, wmuld be that alliance 
and not independence without alliance. I would luge every 
Congressman not to be insistent on independence in each and 
every case, not because there is anything impossible about 
but because it is wholly unnecessary till it has become perfectly 
manifest that Britain really means subjugation in spite of her 
declaration to the contrary. 

The Swaraj Patiy 

So far, then, I have considered the contents of the agree- 
ment and the general questions arising from it. Not much 
need be said about the status of equality given to the Swaraj 
Party. I wish I could have avoided it, not because the Party 
is not worthy, but because I do not share its views about 
Council entry. But if I must remain in the Congress and 
even lead it. I must recognise facts as they are. It was easy 
enough for me to go out of the Congress or to decline the 
honour of presiding. But it was not, so I thought and still 
think, in the interest of the country for me to take that step. 
The Swaraj Party represents, if not a majority, at least a strong 
and growing minority in the Congress. If I was not to divide 
the Congress on the issue of its status, I was bound to agree tc'- 
its conditions so long as they were not in conflict with my 
conscience. Thc}" are not in my opinion unreasonable. The 
.Swarajists want to use the name of the Congress for their policy. 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 439 


A formula had to be found for their doing so without their 
pledging or binding the Xo-changers to their policy. One of 
the ways of doing it was to give it the authority and the 
responsibility both financial and executive with regard to the 
framing and the prosecution of their policy. The Congress as 
a whole could not guide that policy without sharing the res- 
ponsibility. And as I could not take the responsibility, and as. 

I apprehend no Xo-changer can, I could not be party to 
shaping the polic}", nor could I shape it without my heart in it* 
And heart can only go where belief is. I know that the sole 
authority to the Swaraj Party to use the name of the Congress, 
in regard to the Council programme makes somewhat awkw'ard 
the position of the other parties wishing to join the Congress* 
But I fear it is inevitable. The Swaraj Party cannot be 
expected to surrender the advantage it possesses. After all it 
wants the advantage not for itself but for the service of the 
country. All parties have or can have that ambition or no> 
other. I hope therefore that the others will join the Congress 
and work from within to affect the course of the country’s 
politics. Dr. Besant has led the way in that direction. I 
know that she would have many things done otherwise, but she 
is content to come in hoping to bring round the electorate to 
her view by working within the Congress. The No-changers 
can, in my humble opinion, vote for the agreement with a clear 
conscience. The only national programme jointly to be worked 
by all the parties is khaddar, Hindu Muslim unity and, for the 
Hindus removal of untouchability. Is not this after all what 
they want ? 

Purely Social Reform 

It has been suggested that this programme turns the 
Congress into a purely social reform organisation. I beg to 
differ from that view. Everything that is absolutely essential 
for Swaraj is more than merely social work and must be taken 
up by the Congress. It is not suggested that the Congress 
should confine its activity for all time to this work only. But 



440 


YOUNa INDIA. 


it is suggested that the Congress should for the coming year 
•concentrate the whole of its energy on the work of construction, 
•or as I have otherwise described it, the work of internal growth. 

Nor does the agreement exhaust the list of constructive 
items that the Congress must handle. Those I am about to 
mention are of the highest importance, but they, being non- 
contentions and not absolutely essential for Swaraj as the 
foregoing three items, find no mention in the agreement. 

National School 

One such is the maintenance of national educational institu- 
tions. Probably the public do not know that next to khaddar 
the running of national educational institutions has been the 
most successful. These cannot be given up so long as even 
a ‘ few pupils are left. It must be a point of honour with the 
respective provinces to keep up their colleges and schools. 
•Suspension of non-co-operation should not have any injurious 
•effect on these institutions. On the contrary, greater effort than 
•ever before should be made to maintain and strengthen them. 
Most provinces have their national schools and colleges. 
Gujarat alone has a national university maintained at an annual 
cost of Rs. 1,00,000, and having control of 3 Colleges and 70 
Schools with 9,000 pupils. It has acquired its own ground at 
Ahmedabad and has already spent Rs. ^,05,323, in buildings. 
Throughout the country, finest and silent work has been done 
by the non-co-operating students. Theirs is a great and noble 
sacrifice. From a worldly stand-point they have peihaps lost 
the prospect of brilliant careers. I suggest to them however 
that from the national stand-point they have gained more than 
they have lost. They left their schools or colleges, because it 
was through them that the youth of the nation were insulted and 
humiliated in the Punjab. The first link in the chain of our 
bondage is forged in these institutions. The corresponding 
national institutions, however inefficiently managed they may be, 
are the factories where the first instruments of our freedom are 
forged. After all, the hope of the future centres round the boys and 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 441 

girls studying in these national institutions. I therefore regard 
the upkeep of these institutions as a first charge on provincial 
funds. But these institutions to be truly national must be clubs 
for promoting real Hindu Muslim unity, they must be also 
nurseries for training Hindu boys and girls to regard untouch- 
.ability as a blot upon Hinduism and a crime against humanity. 
They should be training schools for expert spinners and 
weavers. If the Congress retains its belief in the potency of 
the spinning wheel and khaddar, one has aright to expect these 
institutions to supply the science of the spinning wheel. They 
'Should be also factories for khaddar production. This is not to 
*say that the boys and the girls are not to have any literary 
training. But I do maintain that the training of the hand and 
the heart must go hand-in-hand vrith that of the head. The 
■quality and the usefulness of a national school or college will 
be measured not by the brilliance of the literary attainments of 
its scholars but by the strength of the national character, and 
deftness in handling the carding bow, the spinning wheel and 
the loom. Whilst I am most anxious that no national school 
or college should be closed, I should have not the slightest 
hesitation in closing down a school or college, that is indifferent 
to the admission of non-Hindu boys, that shuts its door 
against the entry of untouchables or that has not carding 
and spinning as an indispensable part of the training. 
The time is past when we can be satisfied with the word 
‘^nationar on the sign-board of the school and the knowledge 
that it is not affiliated to any Government university or 
.is not otherwise controlled by the Government. I must also 
not omit to point out that the tendency in many national 
institutions still is to neglect the vernaculars and Hindustani. 
Many teachers have not realised the necessity of imparting 
instruction through the vernaculars or Hindustani. I rejoice 
to observe that Sjt. Gangadhar Rao has arranged a meeting 
^of 'national educationists to exchange experiences on the 
•several points mentioned by me and to evolve, if possible, a 
,general plan of education and action. 



442 


YOUNG INDIA 


Unemployed Non-co-operators 

This is perhaps the proper place to mention those lawyers 
who have given up practice, and school masters and other 
Government employees who have given up Government service 
at the call of the nation. I know that there are many 
such men who find it hard to make the two ends meet.. 
They deserve national support. The Khadi Board and the 
national schools and colleges are the two services that can take 
in almost an unlimited number of honest and industrious men 
who are willing to learn and labour and are satisfied with a 
modest allowance. I observe a tendency not to accept any 
remuneration for national service. The desire to serve without 
remuneration is praiseworthy, but all cannot satisfy it. Every 
labourer is worthy of his hire. No country can produce 
thousands of unpaid wholetime workers. We must therefore 
develop an atmosphere in which a patriot would consider it an 
honour to serve the country and accept an allowance for such 
service. 

hitoxicants 

Another item of national importance is the liquor and the 
opium traffic. Had the wave of enthusiasm that swept across 
the country in 1921 in the cause of temperance remained non- 
violent, we would today have witnessed a progressive improve- 
ment. But unfortunately our picketing degenerated into violence- 
veiled when it was not open. Picketing had, therefore, to be 
abandoned, and the liquor-shops and opium-dens began to* 
flourish as before. But you will be pleased to hear that the 
temperance work has not died out altogether. Many workers, 
are still continuing their quiet and self-less service in the cause 
of temperance. We must, however, realise that we would not 
be able to eradicate the evil till we have Swaraj. It is no matter 
of pride to us that our children are being educated out of the 
revenue derived from this immoral source. I would almost for- 
give the Council entry by Congressmen, if they would boldly 
sweep out this revenue even though education may have to be 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 443* 

starved. Nothing of the kind should happen if they will insist 
on a corresponding reduction in the military expenditure. 

Bengal JRepre^<biov 

You will observe that in the foregoing paragraphs I have 
confined myself to the internal developments. 

But the external circumstances, and among them chiedy 
the acts of our rulers, are affecting uiir destiny no less surely 
(though it may be adversely) than the internal development. We 
may turn them to advantage if we will or wemay succumb to them 
to our disadvantage. The latest act of the rulers is the repres- 
sion commenced in Bengal. The All Parties’ Conference con- 
demned it in no uncertain terms. The Conference had hesita- 
tion in saying that the blow was aimed at the Bengal Swaraj 
Party. But I have none. I have been to Calcutta and had the 
opportunity of meeting men repiesenting a variety of opinion 
and I came to the conclusion that the blow was aimed at the 
Swaraj Party. The opinion is confirmed by the speeches since* 
delivered by Lords Lytton and Reading. The defence they 
have offered is wholly unconvincing. Such a defence is possible 
only in a place like India where public opinion counts for little 
or nothing. Lord Lytton 's conditions of release are an insult 
to our intelligence. Their Excellencies beg the question when 
thej tell us that the situation warranted the Ordinance and the 
action under the Regulation of l8l8. The national contention 
is 

1. That the situation they describe has not been proved to* 
exist ; 

2. That assuming that the situation does exist, the remedy 
is worse than the disease : 

3. That the ordinary law contains enough powers for deal- 
ing with the situation ; and lastly 

4. That even if extraordinary' powers were necessary they 
should have been taken from the legislature which is of their 
own creation. 

The speeches of their Excellencies evade these issues- 



444 


YOUNG INDIA 


.altogether. The nation which has had considerable experience 
'Of unsupported statements of the Government will not accept 
them as gospel truth. Their Excellencies know that we cannot 
and will not believe their statements not because they are wil- 
fully untruthful, but because the sources of their information 
have often been discovered to be tainted. Their assurances are 
therefore a mockery of the people. The speeches are almost a 
•challenge to us to do our worst. But we must not be irritated 
•or be impatient. Repression, if it does not cow us down, if it 
•does not deter us from our purpose, can but hasten the advent 
■of Swaraj; for it puts us on our mettle and evokes the spirit of 
•self-sacrifice and courage in the face of danger. Repression 
does for a true man or a nation what fire does for gold. In 1921 
we answered repression with Civil Disobedience and invited the 
•Government to do its worst. But today we are obliged to eat 
the humble pie. We are not ready for Civil Disobedience. We 
'Can but prepare for it. Preparation for Civil Disobedience 
means discipline, self-restraint, a non-violent but resisting 
spirit, cohesion and above all scrupulous and willing obedience 
to the known laws of God and such laws of man as are in 
furtherance of God’s laws. But unfortunately we have neither 
■discipline nor self-restraint enough for our purpose, we are 
either violent or our non-violence is unresisting, we have not 
•enough cohesion and the laws that we obey, whether of God or 
man, we obey compulsorily. As between Hindus and Mussal- 
mans we witness a daily defiant breach of laws both of God and 
man. This is no atmosphere for Civil Disobedience— the one 
matchless and invincible weapon at the disposal of the oppres- 
sed. The alternative is undoubtedly violence. We seem to have 
the atmosphere for it. Hindu-Muslini fights are our training 
for it. And those who believe that India’s deliverance lies 
through violence are entitled to gloat over the free fights that 
take place between us. But I say to those who believe in the 
•cult of violence; You are retarding India’s progress.’ If you 
have any pity or friendly feeling for the starving millions, know 
Tthat your violence will do them no service. Those whom you 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 445* 

seek to depose are better armed and infinite^" better organised’ 
than 3'OU are. You may not care for 3^our own lives, but you 
dare not disregard those of your countryman who have no- 
desire to die a martyr's death. You know that this Govern- 
ment believes in Jailianwala Bagh massacres as a legitimate 
means of self-defence. Whatever may be true of other coun- 
tries. there is no chance of the cult of violence flourishing in 
this country. India is admittedly the best repository and ex- 
ponent of non-violence. Will you not better devote \"our lives,, 
if \'ou sacrifice them in the cause of non-violence ?' 

I know, however, that m3' appeal to the violent revolution- 
aries will be just as fruitless as any such appeal to the violent 
and anarchical Government is likely to be. 

We must therefore find the remedy and demonstrate to 
both the violent Government and the violent revolutionaries that 
there is a force that is more effective than their violence. 

Bepresision a Symptom 

I regard this repression as a chronic symptom of a chronic 
disease. The European dominance and Asiatic subjection is 
the formula. Sometimes it is stated still more cryptically as 
White vs. Black. Kipling miscalled the white man’s yoke as 
the ‘white man's burden.’ In the Malaya peninsula the colour 
bar that was thought to be temporar3'- has now' almost become 
a permanent institution. The Mauritius planter must get Indian 
labour without let or hindrance. The Kenya Europeans success- 
fully lord it over Indians who have a prior right to be there. 
The Union of South Africa would today drive out every Indian 
if it safely could, in total disregard of past obligations. In all 
these cases the Government of India and the Imperial Govern- 
ment are not helpless; they are unwilling or not so insistent as 
they ought to be on the protection of Indian settlers. The 
Government of India have not shown even the decency to - 
publish the report of its own Commission on Fiji. 

The attempt to crush the indomitable spirit of the Akalis is 
a symptom of the same disease. They have poured their blood 



446 


YOUNG INDIA 


like water for the sake of a cause they hold as dear as hie itself. 
They may have erred. If they have, it is they who have bled in 
the process. They have hurt no one else. Nankana Saheb, 
-Guruka-Bagh, and Jaito will bear witness to their courage and 
their mute sufferings and martyrdom. But the Governor of the 
Punjab is reported to have vowed that he will crush the Akalis. 

One hears that repression is crushing the Burmese spirit, 

Egypt fares no better than we do. A mad Egyptian kills a 
British officer certainly a detestable crime. The punishment 
is not only a detestable crime, but it is an outrage upon huma- 
nity. Egypt has nearly lost all it got. A whole nation has 
been mercilessly punished for the crime of one man. It may 
be that the murder had the sympathy of the Egyptians! Would 
that justify terrorism by a power well able to protect its 
interests without it ? 

The repression in Bengal is therefore not an extraordinary 
thing. We must treat its pQiripdic eruption in some shape or 
^ other or in some province or other, as our normal condition till 
we come to our own. 

Need for Sanction 

The Congress, therefore, to be worthy of its trust must 
. devise a sanction to back its demands. Before we can forge the 
sanction, we Hindus, Mussalmans, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis etc., 
must unite and so should Swarajists, No-changers, Liberals, 
Home-Rulers, Muslim Leaguers and others. If we can but speak 
with a united voice and know our own mind, it would be well. 
If we can develop the power to keep foreign cloth from our 
land, it would be better. We are ready then for the sanction. 

Mij faith 

Let me state my faith ; as a Congressman wishing to keep 
the Congress intact, I advise suspension of non-co-operation 
for I see that the nation is not ready for it. But as an indi- 
vidual, I cannot — will not — do so as long as the Government 
remains what it is. It is not merely a policy with me, it is an 



CONGRESS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 447 


article of faith. Non-co-operation and Civil Disobedience are 
but different branches of the same tree called Satyagraha. It is 
my Kalpadaru — my JamA-Jam — the Universal provider. 
Satyagraha is search for Truth ; and god is Truth. Ahimsa or 
Non-violence is the light that reveals that Truth to me. Swaraj 
for me is part of that Truth. This Satyagraha did not fail me 
in South Africa, Khcda, or Champaran and in a host of other 
cases I could mention. It excludes all violence or hate. There- 
fore, I cannot and will not hate Englishmen. Nor will I bear 
their yoke. I must fight unto death the unholy attempt to im- 
pose British methods and British institutions on India. But I 
combat the attempt with non-violence. I believe in the capacity 
■of India to offer non-violent battle to the English rulers. The 
experiment has not failed. It has succeeded, but not to the 
extent wc had hoped and desired. I do not despair. Orr the 
contrary I believe that India will come to her own in the near 
future, and that only through Satyagraha. The proposed sus- 
pension is part of the experiment. Non-co-operation need never 
be resumed if the programme sketched by me can be fulfilled. 
Non-violent non-co-operation in some form or other, whether 
through the Congress or without it, will be resumed if the pro- 
gramme fails. I have repeatedly stated that Satyagraha never 
fails and that one perfect Satyagrahi is enough to vindicate 
Truth. Let us all strive to be perfect Satyagrahis. The striving 
■does not require any quality unattainable by the lowliest among 
us. For Satyagraha is an attribute of the spirit within. It is 
latent in everyone of us. Like Swaraj it is our birthright. 
Let us know it. 


# 



448 


YOUNG INDIA 


i2t)fh December^ 19 '24 

ORMUZD AND AHRIMAN 
Bv M. K. Gandhi 

On the eve of the coming session of the Congress many' 
thoughts come to me. It is the early morn of my day of silence^ 
just four days before the meeting of the Congress. The 
eternal duel between Ormuzd and Ahriman — God and Satan — 
is raging in my breast, which is one among their million battle- 
fields. I have had two very precious days with the ‘No- 
changers. ’ Sarojini Devi says ‘ No-changer ’ is a bad word. I 
have agreed and thrown the burden on her poetic shoulders of 
giving the public a sweeter word. One voice in me tells me, 
“ All will be well if you wdll be ‘careful for nothing ^ but merely 
do your duty as yon find it. ” Another says, You are a fooh 
You must not believe the Swarajists, nor must you trust the 
No-changers. The Swarajists do not mean w^hat they say. The 
No-changers wdll leave you in the lurch at the critical momenta 
Between the two your spinning wheel will be smashed to atoms.. 
You will therefore do w^ell to listen to me and retire. ” I am 
going to obey the first voice. What though the Swarajists are 
found to deceive me and the No-changers to desert me ? They 
will lose, not I. But if I listen to the word of Mr. Worldly-wise, 

I am lost already. I do not want to foresee the future. I am 
concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me 
no control over the moment following. I must therefore believe 
the Swarajists, as I would myself be believed by them. I dare 
not impute weakness to the No-changers, because I would not 
like them to think that I was weak. I must therefore believe in 
the honour of the Swarajists and the strength of the No- 
changers. It is true that I have often been let down. Many 
have deceived me and many have been found wanting. But I 
do not repent of my association with them. For I knew how 
to non-co-operate, as I knew how to co-operate. The most 
practical, the most dignified way of going on in the world is to 



OEMUZD AND AHRIMAN 449 ^ 

take people at their word, when 3^011 have no positive reason to 
the contrary. 

difficulty therefore is not whom to trust or not to trust. 
M3" difficLiltv" lies in the fact that there are hardly half a dozen 
No-changers who are entirely or on the whole satisfied with 
the agreement. They have sincere doubts. I sympathise with 
them and yet I feel that I am doing the right thing in holaing 
to the agreement. They would leave me if they could, but they 
cannot. The tie seems to be indissoluble. They want to trust 
my judgment in spite of themselves. This is a truly embar- 
rassing position. It increases my responsibility a hundredfold. 
I assure them that I will not consciously betrav^ their trust. I 
shall do nothing that will damage the country’s cause or honour., 
But the greatest consolation I can give them is by pointing out 
that all would be well if they will be true to themselves. Every 
one of them will have done his or her primary duty, if he or she 
practises Hindu-Muslim unity, and if he or she devotes all his 
other spare time to carding and spinning and mastering the 
science of khaddar. and himself or herself wears it, and, if a 
Hindu loves his or her untouchable brother as himself or herself. 
This much every one of us can do without any assistance. Prac- 
tice is the best speech and the best propaganda. And this every 
one can do without let or hindrance from anybody else. Not to 
worry about others is Ormuzd’s way. Ahriman leads us into 
the trap by taking us away from ourselves. God is not in 
Kaaba or in Kashi. He is within everyone of us. Therefore 
Swaraj too is to be found by searching inward, not by vainly 
expecting others, even our fellow-workers, to secure it for us. 


29 



450 


YOUNG INDIA 


The follonutg notes by M. K. Gandhi appeared i/t 
Young India ’ of December^ 1924. 

TWO ADDRESSES 

The Belgaum District Board and the Belgaum Municipality 
did me the honour of presenting me addresses which recounted 
my virtues. I felt that any recital of my virtues as an All- 
India worker was beside the point. A Municipal address may 
be fittingly given only to a person for Municipal virtues. But 
in the special circumstances in which we are placed, the 
iNIunicipalities which are struggling to be free give expression 
to their freedom by somewhat identifying themsfjlves with 
public workers, whether they possess Municipal merit or not. 
It is only from that point of view that the presentation of the 
Municipal address to public workers may be justified.. But 
the presentation of these addresses gave me an opportunity of 
paying a tribute to a Western effort in the midst of my 
opposition to western civilisation in general. The one thing 
which we can and must learn from the West is the science of 
Municipal sanitation. B}^ instinct and habit we are used to 
village life, where the need for corporate sanitation is not 
much felt. But as the Western civilisation is materialistic and 
therefore tends towards the development of the cities to the 
neglect of villages the people of the West have evolved a 
science of corporate sanitation and hygiene from which we 
have much to learn. Our narrow and tortuous lanes, our 
congested ill-ventilated houses, our criminal neglect of sources 
of drinking water require remedying. Every Municipality can 
render the greatest service by insisting on people observing the 
laws of sanitation. It is a superstition to consider that vast 
sums of money are required for effecting sanitary reform. We 
must modify western methods of sanitation to suit our require- 
ments. And as my patriotism is inclusive and admits of no 
enmity or ill-will, I do not hesitate, in spite of my horror of 
Western materialism to take from the West what is beneficial 



TYFICAJ. 


4bl 


ior me. And as I knoiv Englishmen to be resourceful, I 
greatfully seek their assistance in such matters. For instance, 
I owe to Poore my knowledge of the cheapest and the most 
effective method of disposal of human excreta. He has shown 
how by our ignorance or prejudice we waste this precious 
manure. Excreta are not dirt in their proper place and 
when they are properly handled. Dirt, as the English say, is 
'‘matter misplaced. ' 


TYPICAL 

I give below Babu Hardayal Nag*s letter : 

“ Dear Mahatmaii, 

I owe you an explanation for not attending the 
Belgaum Congress, particularly the informal conference to 
be held at Belgaum on the 20th. 'My ‘horror for conferences’ 
prevents me from attending the conference. I feel that 
they have in their present form almost outgrown their 
usefulness.’ I cannot persuade myself to leave my engage- 
ment in the work of khaddar production, humble though it 
is, for merely a 'heart to heart’ talk at Belgaum. I am not 
attending the Belgaum Congress for the following reasons: 

(1) I am not in a mood at present co vote against you and 
as a matter of fact you attach no importance to any voting at 
Belgaum. 

(2) I understand that the Calcutta pact is irrevocable. 

(3) 1 cannot persuade myself to be a party to the suspen- 
sion of non-co-operation. I do not believe that non-co-operation 
requires suspension, except for killing the orthodox non- 
co-operators. 

(4) I hold some strong views about Hindu-Muslim unity 
which are not in a line with the views of many of the Congress 
leaders. 

(5) You are strong enough to associate with wickedness 
for the purpose of conquering it with love, but other non-co- 
operators by such association are liable to extinction. I believe 



452 


YOUNG INDIA 


I am saving myself from extinction as a non -co-operator by not 
attending the Belgaum Congress. 

(6) I have very strong feelings in favour of majority rule 
and there are many who share those feelings. I understand no 
such rule will be observed in conducting business at Belgaum. 

(7) The last but not the least ground is that I think my 
‘money and time’ can be better utilized in helping ‘khaddar 
production in my own locality than by attending the conference 
and Congress at Belgaum. The Congress orgnisations in 
Bengal being in the hands of the Swarajists are scarcely render- 
ing any help to the spinning and weaving propaganda. I under- 
stand most of the contributors, if not all, of quotas of yarn to 
the All India Khaddar Board from Bengal according to the 
Ahmedabad resolution aie non-co-operators and their friends- 
and sympathisers. 

In conclusion, I feel bound to request you for o visit to* 
Bengal in January next and have a heart talk with the orthodox 
non-co-operators in a certain central place and then visit as. 
many localities as you possibly can. That will materially help 
their constructive work, specially national education which is. 
now in a moribund condition. I earnestly and fervently hope 
you will pardon me even if the above grounds do not afford 
sufficient excuse for not going to Belgaum. " 

Babu Hardayal Nag is a veteran non-co-operator, ffis 
attitude is typical of that of many No-changers. Holding the 
views he does, I cannot but endorse his decision to abstain from 
attendance at Belgaum. Indeed I appreciate this resentment 
against even suspension of non-co-operation. I wish there was- 
more of it. I am not advising national suspension for the love 
of it. Circumstances have compelled me to do so. it is for in- 
dividuals to make it national again if necessary by demonstrat- 
ing its efficacy in their own persons and remaining non-violent 
at the same time. I would ask Babu Hardayal and those who 
think like him to be most careful about accusing opponents of 
wickedness. ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ is a golden rule. Those 
whom we regard as wicked as a rule return the compliment and. 



BELGATjx\f ]MPRESSIONS 453 

in their turn accuse us of what we cliarge them with. But here 
again 1 quite grant the proposition that if one regards another 
as irrevocably wicked, one is bound ordinarily to non-co-operate 
with him, for unfortunately many things are regulated purely 
by ones mental condition. If I mistake a rope for a snake, I am 
likely to turn ]) ale with fright, much to the amusement of the 
bystander who knows that it is but a rope. !Mind is its own 
place, it can make hell of heaven. So far as the complaint 
against Congress organisation in Bengal is concerned, what- 
ever may be the position today, if hand-spinning becomes part 
«of the franchise, no Congress organisation can exist that does 
not encourage and organise hand-spinning. 

So far as mj^ visit to Bengal is concerned, I vcould come to 
tour through the different districts at the earliest opportunity. 
But it IS diflicult to fix the tune. Kohat refugees are a first 
charge on my time after 23rd January. And every day till 23rd 
January is already mortgaged. It is risky to say where fate 
would lead me after the Pimihb work is ou-r. 

Ibt Jintuarfj, 1025 
BELGAUM IMPRESSIONS 
Bv M. K. 

vVhen ihrerc are too many impressions all cianiouring for 
expression, the registrar’s task becomes unenviable. Such is 
niy position as I take up the pencil to register my impressions 
of Belgaum. ] can but try. 

Gangadhar Rao Deshpande and bis band of workers rose 
to the highest height. His Vijayanagar was a triumph— not 
yet of Swaraj— but certainly of organisation. Every detail was 
well thought out. Dr. Hardikar’s volunteers were smart and 
attentive. The roads were broad and well kept. They could 
easily be broader for tlie convenience of the temporary^ shops 
and the easy movement of thousands of sight-seers. The lighting 
arrangetnenl was perfect. The huge pavilion with a marble 
fountain in front of it seemed to invite all who would eiiier it. 



454 


YOUNG- INDIA 


The capacity of the pavilion could not be less than seventeen 
thousands. The sanitary arrangements though quite good needed 
still more scientific treatment than what they had. The method 
of the disposal of used water was very primitive. I invite the 
Cawnpore people who are to have the honour of holding the 
Congress session of 1925 to study the most effective methods of 
Camp sanitation now and not leave this very important part to 
the eleventh hour. 

Whilst I am able to give ungrudging praise for the almost 
perfect organisation that one could see in the Congress camp^ 
I cannot help remarking that Gangadhar Rao could not escape 
the temptation of making the outside look lavish and in follow- 
ing the traditional custom of going in for extravagant luxuries 
for the ‘ people at the top. * Take the presidential ‘ hut ’. I had 
bargained for a khaddar hut ; but I was insulted with a khaddar 
palace. The floor space reserved for the Prfeident was certainly 
quite necessary. The fence round the ‘palace' was art 
absolute necessity for ray protection from embarrasingly admir- 
ing crowds. But I am sure that, had I been contractor, I would 
have given the same space and the same comfort to the 
President at half the expense. This, however, is only one 
instance of the many I can quote of lavish expenditure. The 
refreshments supplied to the members of the Subjects Com- 
mittee and others w’ere unnecessarily lavish. There was no- 
sense of proportion observed as to the quantities served. I am 
finding fault with nobody. The extravagance came from a 
generous heart. It was all well meant. Forty years' tradition 
cannot be undone in a day, especially if no one likely to gain a 
hearing will repeatedly criticise it. I know, when I suggested 
to Vallabhbhai in 1921 that he should make a beginning, he 
retorted by saying that whilst he wt)uld try to attain simplicity 
and avoid extravagance, he would not allows his pet Gujarat to 
be considered miserly. I could not persuade him that if he did 
not have a temporary fountain costing several thousand rupees 
he w'ould not be considered miserly. 1 told him too that whatever 
he did was bound to be copied by his successors. Vallabhbhai 



BELGIUM IMPRESSIONS 


455 


would not take the odium of being considered miserly. I advise 
C awn pore to lead the way. The miserliness of Cawnpore may 
be considered the extravagance of tomorrow. There were 
many things Vallabhbhai did discard. I did not hear any 
remarks about the disappearance of the things that were 
really not a felt want. 

Let us remember that the Congress is intended to represent 
the poorest toilers who are the sah of India. Our scale must 
be so far as possible adjusted to theirs. We must therefore be 
progressively economical without being inefficient and stingy. 

In my opinion the charge for accommodation and food 
are much too heavy. We may do worse than take a lesson 
from the book of Swami Shraddhanandji. I remember the 
sheds he built for his guests who came for the Gurukul 
anniversary in 1916. He built grass sheds for them at a cost 
(I think) of about Rs. 2000. He invited contractors to open 
restaurants on the ground and made no charge for the 
accommodation. No one could complain of the arrangement. 
They knew what they were to expect. Nearly 40,000 people 
were thus accommodated on the Gurukul ground without the 
slightest difficulty and with practically no expense. And what 
is more each vistitor received what he wanted and was at 
liberty to live cheaply or extravagantly. 

I do not say that the Swami’s plan should be copied in its 
entirety. But Ido suggest that better and cheaper plans are 
imperatively necessary. The reduction of the delegate’s fees 
from Rs. lO to l was universally acclaimed. The reduction of 
lodging and dining charges would be I am sure still more 
appreciated. 

The source of income should be a small entrance fee levied 
from every spectator. The Congress must be an annual fair 
where visitors may come and get instruction with amusement. 
The deliberative part should be an item round which the 
demonstrative programme should turn. It, therefore, should 
take place in decent time, as this year, and the appointments 
must be religiously observed. 



456 


YOUNG INDIA 


I am not sure that the packing of all other conferences into 
one week serves any national purpose. In my opinion only 
those conferences should take place during the Congress week 
that aid and strengthen the Congress. The President and his 
'"Cabinet* must not be expected to give their attention to 
anything but Congress work. I know that, if there had been no 
other call upon my time, I could have better attended to the 
•charge entrusted to me. I had not a moment left to me for 
■contemplation. I was unable to frame the necessary recom- 
mendations for making the franchise a success. The fact is 
that the organisers of various conferences do not take their 
tasks seriously. They hold them because it has become the 
fashion to do so. I would urge workers in various directions 
to avoid the annual dissipation of energy. 

The exhibition of indigenous arts and industries is an 
institution that should grow from year to year. The musical 
concert was a treat that thousands must have enjoyed. The 
lantern lectures tracing the tragic history of the ruin of the 
greatest national industry and the possibilities of its revival were 
apposite, instructive and amusing. I tender my congratulations 
toSatish Babu upon the thoughtful and thorough manner in 
which he organised these lectures. The spinning competition 
must also be a permanent feature. Its popularity is evinced by 
the number of competitors, the brilliance of results and the 
number of donors. This spinning movement is bringing out 
women from their seclusion as nothing else could have done. 
Of the II prize winners, 4 belonged to the gentle sex. It has 
given them a dignity and self-confidence which no university 
degree could give them. They are realising that their active 
assistance is just as indispensable as that of men and, what is 
more, such assistance can be as easily rendered by them as, if 
not more easily than, by men. 

One thing I must not omit before I close these impressions. 
There were nearly seventy five volunteers, mostly Brahmans, 
who were engaged in conservancy work in the Congress camp 
The Municipal hhangis were indeed taken, but it was thought 



BELGAUM IMPRESSIONS 


457 


necessary to have the volunteers also. Kaka Kalelkar who was 
in charge of this corps tells me that this part of the work would 
not have been done as satisfactorily as it was, if the corps had 
not formed. He tells me too that the volunteers worked 
most willingly. Not one of them shirked the work which ordinari- 
ly very few would be prepared to undertake. And yet it is the 
noblest of all from one point of view. Indeed sanitary work 
must be regarded as the foundation of all volunteer training. 
Namdharis 

I had a hard time of it meeting all and sundry and trying 
to give them satisfaction. The Namdhari Sikhs brought me a 
.bundle of papers and expected me lo attend to their grievance 
against the Akalis. Their patience and courtesy disarmed all 
unwillingness on my part. But my inability to attend to their 
■cause was much greater than my unwillingness. Time would 
not wait even for their courtesy. They were themselves able to 
■see that I was perfectly helpless. The only comfort I was able 
to give them was that when I next visited Lahore, I would cer- 
tainly go through their papers and see to it that the Congress 
»did them no injustice. 1 told them that although I was partial 
to the cause of the brave Akalis, I would be no party to any in- 
justice or oppression being committed by them. Sardar 
Mangalsingh re-echoed my sentiment and said that he was 
always ready to show that the Akalis wanted nothing but 
reform of the Gurudwaras on a strictly moral basis. 

PUmJar Baddfiis/.H 

Mr. Pereira of Ceylon wanted me to interest the Congress 
in the Buddha Gaya temple. The reader will remember that a 
movement has been in progress for some years for the restora- 
tion to Buddhists of the great and historic temple at Buddha 
‘Gaya. But it seems to have made no tangible headway. At the 
»Cocanada Congress Babu Rajendra Prasad was appointed to 
inquire into the matter and report. He had not been able to do 
•so upto the time of the meeting. A Buddhist deputation came 
from Ceylon to Belgaum during the Congress week to plead the 



458 


YOUNG INDIA 


Buddhistic cause personally before the Congress. Mr. Pereira? 
had seen several leaders and then saw me. He really did not 
need to plead his cause before me. I was already a convert. 
But here again what was [ to do ? I had no time for anything 
else beyond what I had already undertaken. But Mr. Pereira 
was irresistable. I told him that I believed in his cause as much- 
as he did, but that the Congress might not be able to help him 
much. He was persistent and took away from me the promise- 
that I should at least let him address the subjects Committee 
and let him take the chance of being rejected. Mr. Pereira had 
confidence in himself. His pleasing manners and his brief but 
eloquent speech made an impression upon the committee which 
decided to consider the question there and then. But alas I' 
upon discussion the committee discovered that it could not 
materially assist Mr. Pereira; it had not the report of its own 
deputy ; it had exhaustively discussed the subject at the pre- 
vious session and owing to sharp differences was obliged to* 
drop it. The only thing, therefore, the committee was able to 
do was to ask Rajendra Babu to hasten his inquiry and let the 
Working Committee have his report on or before the end of 
the present month. There is no doubt that the possession of 
Temple should vest in the Buddhists. There may be legal diffi- 
culties. They must be overcome. If the report is true that 
animal sacrifice is offered in the temple, it is a sacrilege. It is 
equally a sacrilege if the worship is offered, as it is alleged, in a-, 
way calculated to wound the susceptibilities of Buddhists. We 
should take pride in helping the restoration of the temple to the 
rightful trustees. I hope Rajendra Babu will secure all the 
literature on the subject and produce a report which can serve 
as a guide for all who wish to advance the cause of the Buddhist 
claimants. Let me hope also that Mr. Pereira has remained in 
India and is assisting Rajendra Babu. 

Teacher in Conference 

The national teachers met in informal conference and came- 
to definite conclusions. The debate was interesting. It centred 



BELGA.UM IMPRESSIONS 


459 ^ 


round the charkha. Learned Pandits attended the conference. 

I hope that the teachers will carry out to the letter and in the 
spirit the resolutions addressed to themselves. It has been the 
bane of the national life to pass resolutions and never to enforce 
them. The teachers should be the last persons in the world to 
make vain promises. They have in their hands the moulding* 
of the youth of the countr5^ Let them know that the students 
are sure to copy their bad example of breach of their own word 
in preference to their lofty sermons on the sacredness of 
resolutions and promises. This year is a year of trial and test 
for the nation. The Congress has staked its all practically on 
a single issue i. e. the production and sale of khaddar and the 
boycott of foreign cloth. The national schools to be national 
have to assist this national work by the teachers and boys and^ 
girls learning the various processes incidental to the production 
of khaddar, by wearing it themselves and by spinning as much 
yarn as they can. Their other studies need not be neglected' 
but they dare not omit the things that are required for the vital 
needs of the nation. The teachers have by an overwhelming 
majority accepted the position. I hope thej- will make it good 
by acting up to their promise. 

Stfidenfs 

The students too met in conference. These were not merely 
of the national schools and colleges but they were principally 
from Government schools. Mr. Reddy the president had a 
scheme for utilising the vacation and other leisure hours of 
students. His scheme was to commit the students (he would 
include the vakils also) to giving the nation at least 28 evenings 
every yeax*, each volunteer to take up four villages in his neigh- 
bourhood as his field of work. Mr. Reddy proposed a course 
of lectures on a variety nl subjects. For the time being I would 
occupy the leisure hours of these volunteers for the spread of 
khaddar. But this service is not the only way the students and 
practising vakils can help. Surely the least they can do is to 
use khaddar themselves and spin half an hour per day. The 



460 


YOUNG INDIA. 


vakils and students over 21 years should become members of 
the Congress and those who are under age should send their 
yarn as donation either to their own committee or to the 
A. 1. K. B. 


January^ 

HOW TO DO IT? 

By M.K. Gandhi 

The Congress has taken a tremendous forward stej) or as 
•some say committed a tremendous folly at the instance of a mad 
man. Congressmen, whether willing spinners or unwilling, 
have to justify the step taken by working the spinning 
franchise. That work which some were doing is now trans- 
ferred to every one who wishes to belong to the Congress. It 
is methodical labour that the Congress requires from every 
Congressman. If he is unwilling to do that labour, he has to 
hire it. 

The task is obviously difficult. If it were easy, it would not 
be possible to expect the grand result one expects from its 
•successful working. Even when it was a mere matter of 
-collecting four annas per year, the task was found to be difficult. 
And today we have not, on the Congress register, in all the 
provinces fifty thousand such members. Now the Congress 
^expects every one to spin 2000 yards ]:)er month or to get that 
.quantity spun for him by another. Thus the workers have to 
keep in continuous touch with the spinners. Therein lies in my 
opinion the strength of the franchise. It gives the p(*<)ple 
political education of a high type. 

The way to ensure success for every province is to fix the 
minimum of voters it expects to secure and not to rest till that 
number is secured. Now throughout India at the lowest 
computation there are at least five million wheels working. 
These spinners can all easily belong to the Congress. Those 
^who are taking work from them can now invite them to devote 



HOW TO DO IT? 


46 r 

half an hour of theii time to the nation by spinning at the 
wheel for that time. This does not require new organising. 
Cotton silvers etc. are there. All that is necessary is for the 
organisation to make a gift to the Congress of the slivers 
required to be supplied to the spinners for voluntary or 
franchise spinning. All that is required of spinners is to give 
the Congress free labour needed to spin 2000 yards of yarn. 
Then there is the voluntar 3 ^ spinning by non-professional 
spinnners. Those who are now spinning have to ask their 
friends and neighbours to do likewise and become Congress 
members. This can be best done by each worker founding 
spinning club of twenty. To be efficient these clubs must be 
small and compact. The first member must be a proficient 
carder and spinner. For on him in the first instance will fall 
the burden of collecting cotton, carding it, slivering it and dis- 
tributing the slivers among the members of the club. The third, 
work is to provide for the unwilling spinners. The honestest 
class of unwilling spinner will naturally seek out a member of 
his own family to do the spinning for him. He then ensures 
the contribution of good and true handspun yarn. The next 
class of unwdlling member will himself engage a professional 
spinner to spin for him. A.ndthe last class is that which will 
buy its yarn from the market and run the risk of having 
spurious yarn sold for genuine. For the sake of the common 
cause I would warn the Congressmen who are unwilling against 
the last method. Registration of membership for the last 
class is easy and, if many avail themselves of it, the practice 
will open the floodgates of fraud and may cause an injury to- 
a cottage industry that is struggling to make headway against 
enormous odds. My hope is that there will be very few men 
and women who will be unwilling to spin for the sake of 
the Congress and the country. The word * unwilling ' has 
found place in the franchise for the sake of meeting the diffi- 
culties of those who are old Coigressmen and whom I would 
not like to leave the Congress, even if they were willing to do 
so. But I shall hope that unwillingness will not be encouraged.- 



462 


YOUNG INDIA 


Mere production of handspun yarn will not make the idle 
„and the starving work. It is the atmosphere of manual work 
and that too consisting of hand-spinning that is required to 
make the millions retake to the wheel. And that atomsphere 
•can best be produced by all Congressmen regarding it as an 
honour for themselves personally to spin. 


Sth January^ 1925 

KATNIAWAD CONFERENCE ADDRESS 
By M. K. Gandhi 

{Friends^ 

The Presidentship of the Kathiawad Political Conference 
.had been offered to me before I went to jail, but I had then 
refused to shoulder the responsibility attaching to that honour- 
able position. As the reasons which then prompted my refusal 
.do not exist any longer, I have accepted the honour now, though 
not without trepidation, — trepidation because there is a wide 
-divergence between my own views and the views held by many, 
«on political questions. Again the fact that I am President of 
the National Congress for the current year makes things rather 
awkward for me. That single burden is more than I can fairly 
discharge, and it would be almost too much for me during the 
year to undertake to guide the activities of this Conference in 
addition. If therefore presiding over your deliberations today 
implies any such responsibility, I may say that I am not at all 
in a position to do it justice. Moreover it would be unfair if 
the views which I express as president here are imputed for 
the Congress simply because I happen to lead it also. 

It is necessary, therefore, for me to make it clear at the 
outset that my views about the Indian States have nothing to 
do with the views of the members of the Cong